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December 29, 2015

Cooper Hospital receives Camden EMS services during lawsuit appeal process

Judge approves New Jersey's request for stay on EMS decision

Emergency Services Hospitals
Cooper University Hospital Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey.

Cooper University Hospital will gain emergency medical services in Camden while the New Jersey court system determines whether legislation granting Cooper exclusive rights to the city's EMS services is constitutional.

Superior Court Judge Joseph Yannotti granted a motion filed by the state to place a stay on a previous court ruling until the appeal process plays out, reported.

The legislature passed the law in June, awarding Level 1 trauma centers exclusive rights to develop and maintain life support services in their respective municipalities. That gave Cooper rights to Camden's EMS services, removing Virtua Health System, a competitor that had provided the services for decades.

Though there are three Level 1 trauma centers in New Jersey, the bill primarily affected EMS services in Camden. The other two trauma centers already provided ALS services in their respective communities.

Virtua and Capital Health filed a joint lawsuit in July alleging the law was unconstitutional.

Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd ruled last week that the law is special legislation, a designation prohibited by the state constitution. Virtua celebrated the ruling, which Cooper appealed to the New Jersey Appellate Division.

PhillyVoice's Executive Director Lexie Norcross sits on the Cooper Foundation Board of Trustees. Her father, George E. Norcross III is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Health System.

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