Plainfield hospital won't admit patients after Aug. 13

There are only two weeks left for people to utilize the Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center?s facilities.

The hospital announced in February that due to the tough economic times, it would be shutting its doors in a matter of months. Now, reports published in the Star Ledger indicate that Aug. 13 will be the last day the hospital will admit patients.

The hospital, located on Park Avenue, opened shortly after the Civil War and has been serving the community ever since. It?s being forced to close its doors because financial problems have left the facility with millions of dollars in debt. The hospital?s deficit for 2007 was reportedly $16.5 million, and it was expected to lose another $18 million in 2008.

About 1,100 jobs will be lost when the hospital, which is the city?s largest employer, closes. There have been many rallies to stop the hospital from shutting its doors, but nothing could help pull the facility out of the massive debt it has incurred over the years.

Many of the hospital?s financial problems started because the facility would help people who did not have insurance ? and many times, it was not reimbursed.

The New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Heather Howard says the state would welcome a new buyer who may be interested in keeping Muhlenberg open. Once the hospital closes its doors, only the emergency room will remain open for about five years. However, current employees say the emergency room will only be a ?Band-Aid? emergency room, and that people seeking medical treatment should head somewhere else.

Plainfield residents rally to save dying hospital

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