New Jersey health officials have denied permission to four hospitals to perform cardiac surgery, citing concerns that allowing more hospitals to perform the procedures could reduce volumes and quality of operations at other hospitals.
James S. Blumenstock, deputy health commissioner, said today that permitting more hospitals to do cardiac surgery would make it less likely that all would have enough work to keep their surgeons proficient.
Applications by Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in Plainfield, Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth and Community Medical Center in Toms River were denied.
Blumenstock said the hospitals also did not demonstrate a need for additional cardiac surgery programs in those parts of the state.
Cardiac surgery is a lucrative and prestigious program for hospitals, and a number of the 17 other facilities that already perform heart operations in the state lobbied heavily against the four new applications.
They claimed new centers weren't needed because the number of open-heart surgeries is on the decline in New Jersey due to breakthroughs in medical devices and drugs.
The hospitals that applied said they wanted to open heart surgery centers in an effort to better serve patients near them, including the elderly and poor.