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II Advisory Commission on Hospitals
Due to concern that the potential severity of the financial decline of New Jersey hospitals could adversely affect access to health care, it was clear that any committee studying this issue would have to form its recommendations as quickly as possible. Therefore, Governor Whitman turned to an existing panel of health care experts that could be reconvened quickly to tackle the issues at hand. Chaired by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services Christine Grant and staffed by various state agencies, the Advisory Commission on Hospitals convened in April 1999. Appendix A lists the members of the commission.
The commission met monthly to review research materials prepared or collected for the commission, hear presentations from outside experts, discuss and debate issues, and develop and refine proposals to improve the situation. To explore issues in greater detail, the commission formed several subcommittees that met between commission meetings and presented their findings at full commission meetings. Subcommittees included:
- Hospital Financial Status, which reviewed different analyses of New Jersey hospitals' financial condition to identify areas of agreement or disagreement in interpreting the information;
- Market Response, which arranged for presentations to discuss responses to similar problems across the nation;
- State Role, which explored those initiatives which the state could realistically and appropriately be expected to do to address hospitals' financial problems as well as those actions that other groups could do to help;
- Prompt Payment, which attempted to sort out the controversial issue of how providers and payers each contributed to claims processing and service denial payment problems; and
- Post-acute Care, which will assess how the structure and financing of the broader health care system hinders efforts to reduce length of stay and what steps might be taken to address the problem.
The commission benefited from resources that members or other organizations brought to meetings. Presentations or documents distributed to members are listed in Appendix B.