#Planned #city #hospital #demo #demands #public #forum #L.A #PARKER #COLUMN #-
Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora should answer the Watergate question about the expected closure and demolition of St. Francis Medical Center.
“What did (Gusciora know), and when did he know it?”
And the follow up. If Gusciora knew about this decision before the news item appeared in a Philadelphia business journal in September: What did he do about it?
Mayor Gusciora dodged an interview early Sunday morning. The first-term mayor who once joined a city council candidate’s social media complaint about not being offered time for conversation here, stayed away after a greeting exchange.
Gusciora had showed at Unity Park for a meeting with police Director Stephen Wilson and another police officer ahead of the Guatemalan parade and festival.
Gusciora played his waiting game before my departure. No matter, this St. Francis Medical Center problem expands as aftershocks rumble through Trenton.
An impromptu meeting at the River Day Festival found a small group spitting anger about the nonchalant attitudes being displayed by local hospital officials, Gusciora, and other politicians. By the way, that’s not nonchalance, baby, their disposition flaunts arrogance.
Gusciora critics agreed that he seemed disconnected from the impact of the hospital closure and demolition. Basically, klatch members said Gusciora had wimped out. Joe Truch, a Republican insider, delivered a non-partisan assessment about principles.
“Sometimes you gotta fight, even when it may seem the fight’s not winnable. You have to stand for something,” Truch said.
Unknowingly, Gusciora had given a Pontius Pilate performance after being asked about the St. Francis Medical Center closure during an appearance at Artworks on Saturday.
Gusciora had crossed paths with a personal friend, and not just any strong acquaintance of mine, a person who knows how hospitals work. This medical field professional alleged Gusciora said the hospital situation loomed out of his control. He blamed it all on Trinity (Health) which owns St. Francis Medical Center, not Capital Health which plans to purchase the medical facility ahead of wrecking ball eventuality.
Still, this deal remains in the approval process. That’s the problem here.
“Subject to regulatory approvals, including approval by the NJ Department of Health, we anticipate that Capital Health Regional Medical Center … will become the new location for most services currently provided at SFMC,” St. Francis said in a statement.
Gusciora makes this hospital closure sound like a done deal, as if he and Al Maghazehe, president and CEO of Capital Health have already moved on about the demolition of St. Francis Medical Center. By the way, when were Gusciora or Maghazehe planning on disclosing this destruction?
And, let’s not forget, an inspection of the St. Francis Medical Center parking garage deemed the space unsafe. Now, according to hospital officials, the entire St. Francis complex could topple if someone slams a door in the west wing.
The public had a right to know about all of this. And Gusciora, who sought legal action against City Council foes, frequently about minutiae throughout his first term, allowed this hospital action to move forward without a whimper.
East Ward Councilman Joe Harrison made one ‘Save the Hospital’ appeal then joined Gusciora in the Guatemalan parade. They sweated what looked and smelled like deceit after their bad mayor, good councilman act unleashed in a public meeting about St. Francis Medical Center.
The meeting occurred across town, not at St. Francis Medical Center. This invitation extends to Mr. Maghazehe and Dan Moen, president and CEO of St. Francis Medical Center, to hold a second meeting at the Chambers St. campus.
Meanwhile, Cooper University Health Care and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper announced a $2 billion multi-year expansion project in Camden that includes the construction of three new patient care buildings. The investment is the largest in Camden County’s history.
The project is expected to take a decade to complete and will expand Cooper’s campus to 745 beds (up from 663) and include more than 100 new private rooms. The new, environmentally sustainable facilities will include emerging technologies and innovations to provide advanced care and support, and expand education and teaching space.
“Not only does this announcement represent the culmination of Cooper’s amazing turnaround since it faced bankruptcy at the turn of the century, but it is also a sign of our commitment to and faith in Camden, its residents, and our shared future,” said Board Chairman George E. Norcross III.
“Cooper’s commitment to its home community is a model of how corporate leadership can spark imagination and new opportunities that benefit local residents. Camden’s transformation from being America’s poorest and most dangerous city to one on the rise is a national model of what cities can achieve with commitment, faith, and hard work.”
L.A. Parker is a – columnist. Find him on Twitter @LAParker6 or email him at LAParker@-.com.
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