Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mapp asks state intervention on Muhlenberg SED's closure

The closure of the Muhlenberg SED would be devastating.

Democratic mayoral nominee Adrian Mapp wrote to NJ Commissioner of Health Mary O'Dowd a few days ago concerning the upcoming expiration of the agreement which keeps JFK's Satellite Emergency Department (SED) at the Muhlenberg Campus open. The letter has been posted on his blog (see here).

Mapp is taking the lead in the absence of action by Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, who has not called a Community Advisory Group meeting in months, nor even mentioned the prospect of the SED's closing.

In granting permission for JFK to close Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, the state imposed several conditions (see my complete outline here). Among these were that JFK would maintain a Satellite Emergency Department at the Muhlenberg Campus. Originally proposed by JFK for a term of three years, the state upped the ante and made it five years. That term expires in August 2013 -- two months from now.

The agreement also put in place a system of free transportation to and from Muhlenberg to JFK and other facilities to service residents who do not drive.

And, lastly, a Community Advisory Group was mandated to keep an eye on JFK's performance in executing the agreement. After some wrangling, it was agreed that Plainfield's mayor would chair that group, which it was contemplated would have regular meetings, conduct its business in public view, and monitor JFK's performance with the ability to complain to the state if conditions weren't being met or corners were being cut.

As Dottie Gutenkauf says in her blog post endorsing Mapp for mayor (see here) --

As mayor, Sharon has been a dismal failure.  The turnover in department heads has been disastrous, and the city’s finances are in disarray.  The City Council hasn’t been given a budget on time for years.  She insisted on heading the Muhlenberg Community Advisory Group, which delayed its startup–and to this member, the results have been, to say the least, disappointing.  There  haven’t been regular meetings, and the scheduling of those meetings has been haphazard–often resulting in conflicts with other important city meetings such as the Planning Board and the Historical Preservation Commission (emphasis added -- DD).
As Mapp notes to Commissioner O'Dowd, neither the governing body nor the community have been notified of what will happen when the agreement expires, whether negotiations are under way and, if so, who is conducting them.

The only saving grace -- and that is a miniscule one -- is that JFK is not permitted to reduce the SED's services or terminate it without 120 days notice to all parties (page 17 of the agreement, see here).

Nevertheless, Sharon Robinson-Briggs is still Mayor of the City of Plainfield and is responsible for taking care of those residents' interests, including the situation with the Muhlenberg SED. At the very least, Sharon should be calling a meeting of the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) to update the public and discuss ways and means of dealing with the situation.

It will be a further mark against her record if she does nothing, but I am not terribly hopeful she will step up and take responsibility. Which leaves candidate Mapp the only person acting like a mayor in the situation.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Anonymous said...

oh... so Sharon just started being a failure about the hospital.. gotcha..Guess Dottie missed it all those years.
No one ever accused Dottie of being quick!

Anonymous said...

Gerry Green has been behind and sometimes in front of many if not most of the Mayors plans for this city as well as the plans for this hospital. Why does Mr. Map want to be on his same team? We need help from all the citizens of Plainfield to help keep the ER room open,and get a medical mall brought to Muhlenburg to keep the building up and bring jobs back to Plainfield.Mr Mapp needs to move forward without the Green team if Plainfield is going to get help for this hospilas ER staying open.

Anonymous said...

Muhlenburg is not a Republican or Democratic concern. It is a concern for all Plainfielders. Councilman Mapp acted just as much as a civil servant as he did a concerned citizen. Let's get behind this, and get Muhlenburg back as a viable property in Plainfield.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go to Muhlenberg or JFK even if you pay me. You come out worse than when you went in.