New York Giants team captain Shaun O’Hara and other members of the Superbowl champs will headline a Pep Rally to Save Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center at 6 pm on Tuesday, April 29 at Plainfield’s Hub Stein Field on Randolph Road and Woodland Avenue across from the hospital.
The rally will also feature Gospel, hip-hop, traditional, and Latin music, as well as appearances by elected officials and community leaders involved in the Save Muhlenberg campaign. The hospital’s parent corporation, Solaris Health Systems, wants to close Muhlenberg in June so as to “save” their other facility, JFK Medical Center, in Edison. Muhlenberg–a full-service acute care hospital with top ratings, serves residents of three counties–Union, Middlesex, and Somerset–and was established more than a century ago as a non-profit community hospital, but Solaris says it’s losing too much money in “charity care” funding and must be sacrificed to “save” JFK.
The state board whose responsibility it is to review proposed hospital closings will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, May 6, from 6 to 8 pm, in the Plainfield High School auditorium (950 Park Avenue).
The Save Muhlenberg campaign is the work of a tri-county coalition of organizations including the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), the Concerned Urban Clergy of the greater Plainfield area, elected officials, and business and community leaders in the three counties. POP has organized rallies both in Plainfield and in Trenton, and plans to lobby the legislature in the coming months for increased state aid to this essential urban hospital.
Solaris officials appeared last week before the Plainfield City Council. CEO John McGee, whose annual salary exceeds $600,000, told City officials that Solaris plans to keep Muhlenberg’s emergency room open as a “JFK satellite” for an indefinite period to “stabilize” patients before having them sent to other hospitals such as Somerset (in Somerville), Overlook (in Summit) and St. Peter’s (in New Brunswick)–and of course to JFK. He admitted that JFK is not capable of serving the entire Muhlenberg community (35,000 patients last year).
This is the Plainfield community’s “Katrina” moment, and it is truly an emergency! If you’re anywhere near Plainfield, you know how important our Medical Center is to the entire area. Ambulances come to Muhlenberg from Watchung, Warren, North Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield, Cranford, Dunellen, Green Brook, Piscataway, South Plainfield, and even parts of Edison. Unlike some other urban areas, we have no other full-service hospitals within the immediate vicinity that can perform emergency procedures such as angioplasty or handle victims of traffic accidents on busy highways such as Route 22 and Interstate 78.
If Muhlenberg is forced to close, the entire area will pay the price. Come out and support our efforts…attend the Pep Rally and/or the May 6 hearing…write your elected officials and newspapers…and please, pay attention–the life you save may be your own!
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