Atlantic County Freeholders Jim Curcio and Frank Giordano called on Governor Jon Corzine to reallocate funds from a $44 million dollar aid package designed to help financially struggling hospitals survive the recent economic downturn to Kessler Memorial Hospital in Hammonton.

Curcio and Giordano pointed out that almost 98% of the emergency hospital funds have been allocated to medical centers in just five North Jersey cities which happen to be overwhelmingly Democratic and political strongholds for Corzine, who plans to run for reelection in 2009.

?Governor Corzine seems to be preoccupied with his friends up north in the allocation of these emergency hospital funds,? Giordano said. ?He ought to reallocate these funds to provide at least the $2.1 million that Kessler has applied for to stay in operation beyond January 15th.

Freeholder Curcio has even invited the Governor to join him in touring Kessler Hospital next week, so he can see first hand the dedication and professionalism of its employees and the essential care being provided there.

?If Governor Corzine sits back and forces Kessler Memorial Hospital to permanently close its doors, tens of thousands of residents who live within 20 miles that depend on the hospital will see the dramatic increases in the time it takes to receive emergency medical treatment,? said Curcio. ?People?s lives may very well hang in the balance.?

A large part of Kessler?s struggles have come about as the result of unfunded state mandates including unreimbursed charity care, which has cost the hospital millions of dollars to provide over the last several years. The legislature created the $44million dollar aid package for community hospitals in exactly the position that Kessler now finds itself.

?It is very unfortunate that an administration that continues to waste billions of dollars a year and has either created or dramatically increased more than one hundred taxes on working class families, cannot come up with the money needed to maintain our healthcare system in South Jersey.? said Curcio. ?Corzine should stop politicizing these emergency funds and dedicate them to a vital hospital in South Jersey that needs help.?


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