Letter to the editor: The impact of hospital development to rural townships

Writer discusses ‘unanticipated consequences and liabilities’ a new hospital may bring to Harrison Township

How would Harrison Township Committee candidates defend taxpayers against the following unanticipated consequences and liabilities that a new Inspira hospital would bring to our once quaint and rural antique and farming town?

1. Hospitals do not pay taxes as other businesses do.

“…For purposes of the property-tax exemption, modern non-profit hospitals are essentially legal fictions,” wrote Judge Vito Bianco,”(www.modernhealthcare.com).

2. Hospitals cost taxpayers multi-millions in fire company engines and personnel, police and all other township utilities and support.

3. Violent crime is much higher in towns with hospitals such as Woodbury and Vineland, existing Inspira hospitals, as well as Bridgeton, stand alone emergency department (formerly Bridgeton Hospital). Harrison Township crime is very low at present, (www.city-data.com).

4. Drug addiction, drug abuse and related crimes are higher in towns with hospitals such as Woodbury and Vineland, existing Inspira hospitals.

(www.patch.com/new-jersey/woodbridge/ocean-citys-home-tops-list-of-7-counties-with-highest-drug-abuse-rate-woodbridge).

5. Woodbury is financially dependent on the jobs and commerce the current Inspira Woodbury hospital provides to help offset all the costs it has incurred over many decades. It would be devastating to the city of Woodbury to lose this institution.

(http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2015/09/harrison_woodbury_officials_react_to_new_inspira_h.html)

6. A hospital placed on Route 322 will worsen the traffic situation and cost taxpayers more money, even after the decade long Route 322 Mullica Hill Bypass project was completed.

(http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/12/bypass.html)

7. Some have suggested the hospital move is all about Inspira making more money, not service to the community.

(http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2015/05/residents_react_to_inspira_reportedly_claiming_hos.html)

8. Inspira is embarking on financing a $349 million Mullica Hill hospital based on what revenue stream? Taxpayers? Currently anticipated to be funded with $259 million of debt and $79 million of cash.

(http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2017/05/inspira_breaks_ground_for_new_hospital_in_gloucest.html)

9. The planned Richwood project may suffer because of the proximity to the hospital as is evidenced by the type of retail that exists near hospitals — dollar stores, fast food, more drug stores and no evidence of the type of high-end establishments that have been promised in the Richwood project.

10. There is much overlap and redundancy of hospital and healthcare services in our area. There are more than half a dozen hospitals within 30 minutes and more than a dozen hospitals within 45 minutes.

Craig Wax