TRENTON – A community health center president said the proposed cut in reimbursement rates for treating uninsured patients would cause the clinic to cut back in services and staff, causing patients to wait longer to schedule a medical visit.
Eva Turbiner, president of Zufall Health Center, which has clinics in Morristown and Dover, said Tuesday at the Assembly public budget hearing that the 10 percent proposed cut in reimbursement services would probably cause her to cut Sunday services and medical lab services, and create a longer wait for patients in scheduling a visit.
She said 70 percent of the 12,000 patients the clinic sees lack health insurance. The center provides pediatric, adult and dental services.
The clinic receives approximately $2 million in reimbursements, she said. A 10 percent cut would mean $200,000 less.
With the recent closure of Planned Parenthood in Dover, Turbiner said she has seen an influx in the number of visits from patients who previously went there.
She added there’s already a six-week waiting list for patients who want to schedule a dental visit.
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, (D-15), Trenton, asked where would patients go if Zufall didn’t exist.
Turbiner said they would probably go to hospital emergency rooms, which can be very expensive for the state.
Thus, Turbiner said, it only makes sense for the state to preserve clinics like Zufall.
“It’s the most cost-effective solution,” she said.