Is another medical center actually needed?

To the Editor:
Recently, you wrote about a new medical services development in the heart of Bayonne.  I think city officials are taking a step in the right direction by choosing to redevelop this once-great part of Bayonne; I applaud their efforts.  However, is another medical center the best way to develop this important space?  There are many healthcare centers in and around Bayonne.  United Medical’s newly developed primary care center and the Bayonne Medical Center are Bayonne’s most prominent healthcare institutions, but that’s not all.  There are an endless number of healthcare centers in New York City; there is a medical school in Newark. In Hudson County, it seems like there is a different specialist on every other block. We all understand why Broadway between 23rd and 24th street needs to be redeveloped.  We can create new jobs, renovate a city center, and increase our happiness.  Yet, as is apparent, new health service centers are not needed.  The new medical center will need to consistently provide healthcare in order to remain in business.  In Shannon Brownlee’s book “Overtreated,” Brownlee completes research and analysis that suggests, once there is adequate healthcare in an area, increasing the number of healthcare options is not beneficial for us.  Actually, too much healthcare makes us worse!  Findings from research in the “Dartmouth Atlas of Health” strongly suggests many doctors continue to provide healthcare inefficiently (The techniques they use are proven to be less effective than alternatives.) As we are referred to more doctors, the likelihood of medical errors increases as we undergo increasingly complex treatments.  All this extra care makes healthcare more expensive and unaffordable for each of us.  Is there a medical need that is not already provided for, either in Bayonne or the surrounding area?  I do not believe so. A new medical center cannot be justified because it is simply providing more of the healthcare we already have.  When you are given a referral for a test or procedure at this new medical center, ask if getting this healthcare truly affects your health positively, or are you just getting treatment because a new, high-tech, expensive facility needs to be used in order to generate profit?  If most people are satisfied with their healthcare service now, then this new medical center is more about stimulating the economy than providing needed healthcare. A new development in the heart of Broadway will surely be beneficial for our economy and morale.  Still, there must be a better alternative than a medical center that, at best, marginally lowers commute times for patients and, at worst, might actually lead to worse health outcomes for us.  I fully support incentivizing new business development and growth, but more healthcare is not the answer.  I would ask city officials to reconsider whether there are better, more useful ways a redeveloped space could be used.


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