Two hospital-related bills move in Senate committee

TRENTON – The Senate Budget Committee today passed two hospital-related bills that will move to a vote of the full body.

The first bill, S3100, establishes a Health Facility Reuse and Community Revitalization program. It was approved, 10-1, with state Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23), of Washington Township, providing the only dissenting vote.

Sponsor state Sen. Robert Gordon (D-38), of Fair Lawn, told the committee that he was a witness to the community power of repurposed hospitals when he was a trustee on the board at Paterson Hospital before it converted to a medical center.

“It has immediately served as a catalyst for local development (in the area),” he said. With 25 hospitals closing statewide in recent years, he said it was time to pay closer attention to what becomes of the facilities, which “could be recycled for any number of uses.”

The bill uses tax increment financing, he said, to provide developers with gap financing to make re-purposing projects possible. “Any grants are contingent on any revenues earned in the future,” he said.

The second bill, S3077, establishes a Non-Profit Hospital Redevelopment and Growth Grant program. Sponsored by state Sen. Jim Whelan (D-2), of Atlantic City, the measure passed committee, 7-1-3, with Doherty again providing the only down vote. Two hospital-related bills move in Senate committee