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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why doesn't anyone like C|arePoint ? or I'm hurt call me a taxi !

What is it about this C|arePoint? She's like your best friend's new girl/boy friend, and no one has anything nice to say about her? If you aren't sure who/what I am referring to here, let's take a minute and return to 2013. Towards the end of last year, Jersey City requested proposal for a new 3 year contract for ambulance services. The mayor's office appointed a five member committee who ultimately compared the only two proposals submitted. One came from CarePoint/McCabe a for-profit medical services company that owns Bayonne Hospital, Hoboken Medical Center, and recently purchased Christ Hospital;  the second bid came from the Jersey City Medical Center, a non-profit organization that has run the ambulance program for the last 130 years, and operates the new Jersey City Medical Center. After a close vote, the 5 member board recommended to award the contract to CarePoint and on the last council meeting of the year, the City Council planned to vote on this measure. Done deal? Thankfully not, and hopefully not.

Okay back to Ms. C|arePoint, your best friend's new boy/girlfriend. Here's why I'm not in favor of you dating her/him.

1.  CarePoint – which has canceled agreements with nearly all insurance carriers – gets a huge financial benefit from ER admissions. By state law, insurance companies must pay full price for services administered to patients coming in through the ER. from  Hudson Reporter - City punts on ambulance contract Decision on hiring company is delayed until after the New Year 

2. CarePoint's - Bayonne Medical Center Has the Highest Billing Rates in The Nation. Bayonne Medical typically charged $99,689 for treating each case of chronic lung disease, 5.5 times as much as other hospitals and 17.5 times as much as Medicare paid in reimbursement. The hospital also charged on average of $120,040 to treat transient ischemia, a type of small stroke that has no lasting effect. That was 5.6 times the national average and 23.6 times what Medicare paid. from May 16, 2013 New York Times  Just a note - either of these bill's would give me a heart attack [actual dollar cost not cited here] 

3. I haven't found one person who has anything nice to say about CarePoint's billing or employment experiences. I know a mother who is fighting a $19,000 bill for her three year old son's a three hour ER visit to Christ Hospital, a woman who works at a CarePoint hospital who described her bosses a "another faceless money making system" . Yes CarePoint donated 100 or so meals to St. Lucy's Shelter around Thanskgiving, but I bet they haven't been back since, nor did they even take time to offer any medical services to anyone in the homeless shelter while they were there, you think they would give away something they had unlimited access to ? Nope !

4. The JCMC uses EMT's who have trauma training and have a six minute response time, while a CarePoint ambulance focuses on transport. No thanks, I'm calling A-1 Taxi instead of 911.

5. Finally, the city has not reached out to the community for their input on this contact selection process. Sorry, with the exception of the late December city council meeting, in which member from the community could have spoken on behalf of the measure before it's vote. So well timed for the holidays, like I'm not busy enough !

On Wednesday at 7 pm. January 8th, a Public QandA Forum is taking place at the Mary Bethume Center at 140 MLK Blvd. community leaders will come together to host a public forum regarding the controversial EMS contract at the Mary Bethune Center. Jersey City Medical Center CEO Joe Scott will be present to answer questions. Carepoint/McCabe declined the invitation to attend. The purpose of this forums is to allow the general public to hear from both health care providers bidding on an EMS contract with the city of Jersey City. The open forum was originally co-sponsored by Civic JC and Beacon Block Neighborhood Association.

Finally, on Wednesday January 15th, The City Council will most likely vote on the awarding the contract to CarePoint, please join other concerned citizens from SAVEOUREMS  in opposing this measure.