West Ward Councilwoman Robin M. Vaughn, who is a candidate for mayor in Trenton’s upcoming municipal election, is calling on residents to demand action from Governor Phil Murphy and other authorities to stop the closing of St. Francis Hospital.
“Trentonians, contact all the elected officials representing the City of Trenton to stop the closing of St. Francis Medical Center and the related catastrophic economic and public health impacts that transaction will have on city residents,” said Vaughn. “Make them do their jobs now!! Not after Election Day, November 8, 2022, but now!”
Vaughn started sounding the alarm after officials announced St. Francis Medical Center would be closing, leaving Trenton–which had three hospitals a dozen years ago–with just one.
St. Francis Medical Center has been open for 150 years. Once it closes, Capital Health Regional Medical Center will be the only hospital to remain in the city.
Capital Health-Mercer shut down main operations in 2011 and closed its emergency room in 2013.
Vaughn’s opponent, incumbent Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, told News 12, “I’m not happy with it,” but expressed impotence to influence the situation.
“I call it St. Elsewhere because the people are going elsewhere,” Gusciora said.
“What is Mayor Gusciora talking about?,” Vaughn asked. “The condition of the old State House building did not prevent him from voting, while he was an assemblyman, for $200 million to restore it.”
The state budget Murphy approved in June includes $50 million to fund design and engineering work, prepare the site and start building a new $1.2 billion medical complex at University Hospital in Newark.
On September 21, 2022, Cooper Health announced plans for a $2 billion expansion project to transform its campus in Camden, to meet both the current and anticipated demand of Cooper University Hospital and its Anderson Cancer Center.
Vaughn said Gusciora should take some cues from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen by advocating for the community instead of lamenting massive economic and social loss to the capital city.
“Gusciora must meet with Governor Murphy now, as a matter of urgency, to request funding for St. Francis Hospital,” said Vaughn. “And Murphy pursuant to the 1947 Constitution of New Jersey has a fiduciary responsibility to cut that check.”
“We must take a stand now. We can’t afford to lose another hospital and gain another vacant lot,” said Vaughn. “To demand that Governor Murphy fund and bail out St. Francis Hospital email him at: email@example.com or phone (609) 292-6000”
Vaughn also called for other elected officials representing Trenton by name to help St. Francis Medical Center with its finances, including Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, County Executive Brian Hughes, County Commissioners Samuel Frisby and Terrance Stokes, Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli.
“Where are they on this very important matter?,” Vaughn asked.
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