2 hospital chains sue NJ governor over new paramedic law

Marlton, N.J.-based Virtua Health and Trenton, N.J.-based Capital Health System have filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, claiming a new paramedic law in the state is unconstitutional, according to a Politico report.

The law in question was signed by the governor this month and puts the three top-tier trauma centers in the state in charge of emergency services in the communities they serve.

Under the law, Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., would be responsible for managing emergency services in Camden, cutting other paramedic services providers out of the equation. Virtua, which has been operating paramedic units in the city since 1977, claims the state had "no rational basis" for making the changes included in the law. Virtua claims the law will not increase service quality, contain costs or create better care coordination.

Capital Health joined Virtua in the suing the governor, as it is the sole provider of paramedic services in a county where Robert Wood Johnson Health System, which has flagship hospital campuses in New Brunswick, N.J., and Somerset, N.J., has an affiliated acute care hospital. Since Robert Wood Johnson is a top-tier trauma center, it would be able to apply to offer advanced life support in municipalities where it has acute care facilities, including in the area where Capital Health has traditionally provided those services.

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