N.J. rejects Trinitas’ application to become a Level II Trauma Center

By Anjalee Khemlani
Elizabeth | May 17, 2019 at 12:52 pm

Trinitas Regional Medical Center’s application to become a Level II Trauma Center was rejected by the state Department of Health on Friday.

Officials at Trinitas said they reviewed the seven-page rejection letter (which can be read below), and are planning to pursue an appeal.

Trinitas CEO Gary Horan told ROI-NJ Friday that the hospital will pursue all avenues available to fight for the designation.

“It’s a very flawed system,” Horan said.

He said he believes the department focused on political interests, which is concerned with the financial fragility of University Hospital, rather than the services Trinitas could provide the region.

“(The DOH) placed disproportionate emphasis upon unsubstantiated economic considerations, as opposed to the human need for care that exists in the community,” Horan said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Trinitas, which has been in a prolonged fight to earn Level II designation, appeared to be moving in that direction in January, when its efforts received approval from the state’s health planning board.

Trinitas, which is in Elizabeth, began its latest effort to become a Level II Trauma Center in the fall of 2017, when the state asked hospitals in Union County to apply for the designation — recognizing that the county did not have a Level II center in its borders.

Trinitas CEO Gary Horan openly argued his case for the designation, citing — among other reasons — that Elizabeth is one of the 10 most violent cities in the state and Trinitas’ emergency room is one of the busiest in the state — one that handles many extreme trauma cases, such as wounds from gunshots and stabbings.

Trinitas’ application was met with opposition from officials at University Hospital in Newark, as well as Newark elected officials, who argued that granting the designation would result in a loss of business and financial harm to University Hospital.

Officials at the hospital and more than a dozen elected officials in the Newark/Essex County area sent six letters of opposition to the Department of Health last April.

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Anjalee Khemlani | akhemlani@roi-nj.com | AnjKhem