Health planning board OKs Trinitas’ Trauma II designation

Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth. (File photo)

Trinitas Regional Medical Center’s efforts to become a designation Trauma II hospital received approval from the state’s health planning board Thursday.

The designation, based on a Certification of Need application that has been open since fall 2017, still requires final approval by the Department of Health.

Former Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett, who now heads the New Jersey Hospital Association, initiated the call for a Trauma II designated hospital in Union County.

The issue is one that Essex County politicians at the state and local level have been fighting ever since, because of the fear that it may take away from the existing volume of trauma patients that are routed to University Hospital, which is a Trauma I hospital.

This, then, could affect that hospital’s finances.

To that, Trinitas CEO Gary Horan said: “If a few cases to us would put them under, then there is something else dramatically, structurally wrong at University Hospital. But that’s not the case.”

Current Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal was asked how he would handle the decision during his confirmation hearing last April, to which he replied that he could not respond to any questions about an open Certificate of Need application.

Horan said that, although it is not a done deal, he was pleased with the decision of the planning board.

“They heard from a number of different people from Elizabeth primarily, legislative people, and councilmen, and I testified,” he said. “They felt that our arguments were very credible.”