TRENTON, NJ –   A group of central New Jersey hospitals said that the New Jersey State Senate failure to pass legislation that would allow community hospitals to conduct elective angioplasties has left patients in seven counties – including Mercer County – without access to the life-saving cardiac procedure.   

New Jersey is currently the only state in America that does not have regulations to allow hospitals to perform this procedure. Yet, heart disease remains the number one killer in the United States.

The New Jersey Coalition of New Jersey Hospitals -- an advocacy organization comprised of Capital Health System, Hunterdon HealthCare, St. Claire’s Health, Centrastate Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital – Warren, and St. Peter’s University Medical Center, that educates public officials on the importance of providing personal, quality neighborhood healthcare services, said it’s simply unfair to make New Jersey patients wait any longer for this life-saving treatment.

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The Coalition said that the Legislature put politics over patients by failing to enact a new measure that would have permitted qualified hospitals without onsite cardiac surgery to apply for a license to perform elective angioplasty.  

"This important legislation will enable more providers to provide lifesaving treatment at more locations assuring timely access for more New Jerseyans. It simply makes no sense to force patients to wait and travel to receive an elective procedure when they can get it done safely closer to home,” said Al Maghazehe, PhD, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Capital Health.

Maghazehe and coalition colleagues said it’s now up to the Legislature to level the playing field for these patients and provide them with the quality, life-saving cardiac care close to home that they deserve.

During an angioplasty, a small metal mesh tube called a stent is inserted to restore life-saving blood flow to the heart.   National studies have shown that conducting elective angioplasties at facilities without cardiac surgery is safe and common.

Cardiac patients in seven New Jersey counties have been forced to travel to alternate facilities or out-of-state because New Jersey lawmakers failed to act years ago.  The group says patients face delays in care, potentially exposing them to additional risk and impacting their outcomes. 

In addition, 11 hospitals who have been able to perform elective since 2005, will no longer be able to provide this service.  

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