TRENTON – Emotional testimony over the out-of-state restrictions in the proposed pension and benefits reform was leveled at the Assembly Budget Committee Monday.
Stephanie Rosati Pratico, a New Jersey resident who sought care for her Down Syndrome-afflicted son at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), said “to have someone limit that (medical care access) is unconscionable.”
“The last thing I need is another barrier, another boundary.”
Another parent said, “You are placing a death sentence on these individuals.”
Not only parents weighed in on this issue of restrictions.
Peter Grollman, director of government affairs for CHOP, said some patients “could be adversely affected” if the legislation is not amended.
He said all patients have the right to get “the right care, at the right place at the right time.” He said the hospital provides many specialized services like heart-lung transplants and proton therapy.
Fred Hipp, vice president of government relations at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees, Camden County, which partnered with CHOP to establish an ambulatory care unit, said the parents’ stories “get to the heart of what we’re concerned about.”
Hipp said that while the goal of the partnership is “to keep more patients in New Jersey,” the legislation that the Assembly Budget Committee released Monday night could create certain “scenarios” for which more clarity is needed.
“We would like to continue that discussion and be involved in the planning,” he said.
Under bill changes shepherded by Sen. President Steve Sweeney, subscribers to an in-state plan would be allowed to seek out-of-state care on their physician’s certification that no qualified provider exists in-state who can care for the patient’s condition – as with the original language, primary and emergency care would be exempted. Subscribers to the in-state plan who currently see an out-of-state specialist also would have that relationship grandfathered.