Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Citizens: Keep Solaris Off Emergency Council

After numerous residents protested the proposed inclusion of Solaris Health Systems on a broad-based emergency management council, the governing body voted 5-1 Monday to table the matter.

The purpose of the ordinance was to add representatives of 15 diverse agencies and city departments to the Emergency Management Council that currently has just one director and two deputies.

Given that Solaris Health Systems sought and achieved closure of Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center despite months of protests and rallies, residents indicated they found the company's proposed inclusion on the council insulting. City residents who formerly counted on having an acute care facility within minutes must now be transported out of town to hospitals in Edison, Summit, Somerville or Morristown, in effect compounding medical emergencies by delays in treatment or overcrowding in the hospitals, speakers have said since Muhlenberg closed.

After hearing the outcry Monday, Council President Rashid Burney first tried to table the ordinance by executive power, but then made a motion to table. Burney, Councilwomen Linda Carter and Annie McWilliams and Councilman William Reid voted "yes" and Councilman Cory Storch voted "no" to table. Councilman Elliott Simmons was absent.

Earlier, Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson had reported on talks with Solaris over certain concessions sought by the administration and city groups following the closing. Plaintalker is leaving the fine points up to Mark Spivey, who has been reporting on the issue for the Courier News. Among the issues are the makeup of a Citizens Advisory Group provision of either an ambulance or ambulance service. The talks remain unresolved and the report apparently added to the residents' level of suspicion about Solaris Monday.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the largest emergency services provider in the City has been banned from serving on an emergency management council because their parent company is not popular at the moment? This is crazy! I am starting to think that the powers that be are creating a situation that will cause someone to die just so they can prove that Jerry Green, the Commissioner of Health and Solaris were wrong about closing Muhlenberg.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently anonymous 7:16 pm wasn't at the Council meeting, or perhaps is a Solaris spokesman.

The citizens' concerns weren't about "banning" the "largest emergency services provider in the City" from a council that doesn't exist. The ordinance setting up the council hasn't been enacted--it was tabled (that means they put off dealing with it). Bernice left it to the Courier to report, and they did--Solaris doesn't even want to provide another ambulance for Plainfield. The Council did the right thing.

It was Solaris that wanted to close Muhlenberg, and it was the Commissioner who approved it. Jerry Green has consistently opposed closing Muhlenberg and supported community efforts to keep it open. Read the recent newspaper reports and today's Courier editorial.

11:24 AM  

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