From the Times Ledger:
The closings of St. John’s and Mary Immaculate hospitals inspired a bill passed by the state Legislature last week that would require the state to hold a hearing about plans to shutter hospitals and issue plans for filling the gap in health care services in affected communities.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica), the state Legislature unanimously passed the Hospital Closure Planning Act last week. Lawmakers will send it to Gov. David Paterson’s desk within the next several weeks, after which he will have 10 days to decide whether or not to sign the bill that borough lawmakers said addresses a need to give the public more of a voice about hospitals slated to be shuttered.
Lancman and Huntley have criticized the state DOH for its response to the closure of St. John’s and Mary Immaculate and said this act will help lay the groundwork for a comprehensive plan to meet New York’s health care needs. The bill would require the state DOH to hold a public forum within 30 days of a hospital closure and issue a plan for addressing the consequence of the loss of health care services.
Paterson had vetoed the Hospital Closure Planning Act in September 2009, but lawmakers said they revamped the bill to address his concerns, including decreasing the number of hearings from two to one.