NJ officials say more hospital closures are OK

Things look bad for many New Jersey hospitals. Four have closed in the last 18 months, four others are planning to close, five filed for bankruptcy protection and about half of the others are losing money. Despite the carnage in the industry, state health officials say that things are working out the way they should. State Health Commissioner Heather Howard told lawmakers that the industry can't strengthen financially until some hospitals close, a stance that seems based on similar premises as policies in neighboring New York state. 

This is part of a larger shift in New Jersey politics, under which leaders now are pursuing a "sink or swim" strategy in which sick hospitals are allowed to die. Gov. Jon Corzine's proposed 14 percent cut in state hospital aid should only continue the process, completely eliminating state aid for 26 hospitals and less for 37, says the New Jersey Hospital Association.

To learn more about New Jersey's plans for its hospitals:
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer piece

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