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Virtua Squawks As NJ Lawmakers Consider EMS Exclusivity for Cooper Hosp. in Camden

By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) -- There could be a battle brewing between a pair of health care providers in South Jersey over providing ambulance service in the city of Camden.

A pair of bills to be debated next week in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly would grant hospitals designated "level one trauma centers" exclusivity in providing EMS services in the towns in which they are located, plus the right of first refusal tp provide life support services.

In Camden, Cooper Hospital would be the designated sole provider.

But competitor Virtua, with its own campus in Camden and 38 years of experience in providing the same ambulance service, is crying foul.

"We run a high quality system with excellent outcomes. We're well integrated with all of the hospitals and other EMS and first response agencies in the city, and there is no need to make a change," says Scott Kasper, an assistant vice president at Virtua.

To do so, in Kasper's view, would eliminate important competition and drive up health care costs in the city.

Cooper officials declined to comment.



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