The members of a newly formed association of New Jersey teaching hospitals will be taking the matter of adequate funding for graduate medical education into their own hands.
The Council of Teaching Hospitals of New Jersey will press state officials for a source of funding to cover graduate medical education and the education costs of health professions. The group also intends to tackle difficult issues regarding the number of residents in training.
Some $427 million of the state's $8 billion in healthcare expenditures represent teaching costs.
Two meetings have been held to outline the council's objectives and test support among the state's 41 teaching hospitals. Bylaws are being drafted, but decisions regarding administration and dues have yet to be made.
In New Jersey, there is no separate funding mechanism to subsidize hospitals' teaching costs. Those expenses are covered through federal Medicare GME payments and hospitals' own profits. But as more care is reimbursed under stringently priced managed-care contracts, teaching hospitals say their margins are being squeezed.
"We need a stable source of funding in order to assure the next generation of healthcare providers," said Stanley S. Bergen Jr., M.D., president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the nation's largest statewide health sciences and medical education university system.
The Council of Teaching Hospitals is a cooperative venture of the Newark-based UMDNJ and University Health System of New Jersey in New Brunswick, a consortium of teaching hospitals.
Bergen expects some 25 to 30 teaching hospitals to join the organization.
Sources familiar with the effort said the council's creation is not intended to siphon members out of the New Jersey Hospital Association. Thomas E. Terrill, executive vice president of University Health System of New Jersey, said it's been recommended that NJHA President Gary Carter and the NJHA's incoming chairman, Ronald J. Del Mauro, be included on the council's board.
At deadline, Carter wasn't available for comment.-