Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis insisted today that Governor Jon Corzine re-allocate $2.1 million from emergency hospital funds to keep Hammonton?s Kessler Hospital from closing on January 15th, particularly in light of the $400 million in fraudulent and wasteful spending by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) over the past several years.

Davis cited federal, state, and media reports that found millions in cost reporting errors, unauthorized or inappropriate spending, allegations of missing funds as well as ?illegal payments for referrals? which violated Federal Anti-Kickback Laws at UMDNJ. (Source: ?End of Monitor Report of the Federal Monitor for the UMDNJ? Herbert J. Stern 1/30/08?)

?The Democrats in Trenton always seemed to find enough money for the UMDNJ while Senator Wayne Bryant was on staff there, yet Corzine can?t find $2 million for Kessler,? said Davis. ?As we now know, UMDNJ squandered the resources it received while institutions like Kessler have operated for years on a shoestring budget and are now on life support.?

Davis also pointed out that the UMDNJ has spent millions in taxpayer dollars lobbying state legislators, and expended considerable sums on a search committee to find a new University President, only to later hire one of the committee?s own members for the $570,000 a year job.

?What does it say about our healthcare system if only the politically well connected hospitals are able to receive taxpayer dollars?? asked Davis. ?Precious state resources should be disbursed based upon needs rather than political connections and those needs are most seriously present at Kessler.

?If the state could find millions for UMDNJ, with large amounts of those funds wasted, then they can certainly find $2 million to support a hospital in South Jersey that must remain open to support the healthcare and emergency medical needs of our region,? said Davis. ?It is truly embarrassing that the Democrats in Trenton through poor oversight and a lack of accountability in the state funding process ? allow one politically connected hospital to receive millions in tax dollars, while a struggling institution like Kessler is left out in the cold.


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