New Jersey's lone public hospital seeks $1.2B for replacement facility

University Hospital in Newark, N.J., is in desperate need of improvements as it deals with overcrowding in its emergency department and maintenance issues, advocates say, nj.com reported May 1. It is the only public hospital in the state.

CEO Shereef Elnahal said in a 15-page report that the hospital needs about $20 million in "emergency" repairs every year. He launched a campaign for a $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion replacement hospital. 

Nursing union Health Professionals and Allied Employees and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo are both lobbying for the state to allocate at least $600 million of its $4 billion in pandemic relief funds to the hospital project. 

"I have been trying to push this for 20 years. Now the money is there," Mr. DiVincenzo told nj.com. "I think the state owns the facility and it has to take control and say, 'Hey listen — it's time to put up or shut up."

Health Professionals and Allied Employees told nj.com there needs to be space to expand. The emergency department is designed for 60,000 patients but sees more than 90,000 annually. 

The 43-year-old building also has plumbing issues that have occasionally shut down its labor and delivery unit and some operating rooms. Trailers that hold offices, which were meant to be temporary, still sit on the campus. 

Read more here.

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