2.The Legislature finds and declares that:
a.The final report of the New Jersey Commission on Rationalizing Health Care Resources, issued on January 24, 2008, demonstrated that a large number of New Jersey general hospitals are in poor financial health and in financial distress due to a number of causes, including lack of universal coverage, underpayment by public payers, misaligned incentives and interests between physicians and hospitals, lack of transparency of performance or cost, a need for more responsible governance at certain hospitals, and excessive geographic hospital density;
b.The financial challenges faced by general hospitals in New Jersey have caused many to close in recent years, and additional hospitals may close in the future;
c.A general hospital's sudden closure or significant reduction in services can threaten access to health care providers and specialized health care services in the hospital's primary service area;
d.It is vitally important to the residents of this State that continuity and stability be maintained when a general hospital closes or reduces services in order to assure access to high-quality and cost-effective health care services and referrals to residents of the affected community;
e.It is fitting and appropriate that the State of New Jersey provide temporary funding to continue access to and availability of health care services in time of emergent need and to condition that funding on adherence to requirements to ensure efficient and effective delivery of health care services; and
f.To that end, the Health Care Stabilization Fund is established for the purpose of providing emergency grants to general hospitals and other licensed health care facilities to ensure continuation of access and availability of necessary health care services to residents in a community served by a hospital facing closure or significantly reducing services due to financial distress.
L.2008, c.33, s.2.