BAYONNE, NJ - More than a hundred members of the Bayonne Medical staff, nursing staff, union delegates and local public officials gathered on the front lawn of Bayonne Medical Center Wednesday to show their support for BMC LLC – which has offered to take over the operations from CarePoint Health.
The rally was prompted by a letter dated June 19, and reviewed by TAPinto Bayonne, wherein Governor Phil Murphy was again asked to intervene to "stop efforts by the current landowner and Hudson Regional Hospital to undermine the transaction and prevent the closing."
"Virtually all of our doctors, nurses, and Union delegates and staff support our appeal," they said, a fact buttressed by the 15 pages of signatures of those also represented at the rally.
CarePoint, which has operated Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital in Jersey City, and Hoboken University Medical Center, had hoped to sell the Hoboken and Jersey City hospitals and then find another operator for Bayonne Medical Center.
But Avery Eisenreich, owner of a number of nursing homes, quietly procured the Bayonne property, as well as portions of Hoboken and Christ Hospitals, threatening the possible closure of one or all of the hospitals.
Some local officials believe Eisenreich intended to sell off the properties for redevelopment, prompting them to quickly set up a hospital authority, and convince the Hudson County Freeholders to approve a possible taking of the property through eminent domain.
The city also rezoned three parcels of property under Bayonne Medical Center to require the property to be used only for a hospital.This prompted a lawsuit by Eisenreich to force the city to rescind the rezoning.
In yet another surprise move, Hudson Region Hospital – based in Secaucus – purchased the Bayonne and Hoboken properties from Eisenreich and put a bid for the purchase of Christ hospital operations as well as its property.
The deal for the purchase of property of Bayonne and Hoboken came just after CarePoint announced its deal for BMC Hospital LLC. Hudson Regional had also submitted a bid for the takeover of operations but lost out to BMC Hospital LLC.
The sale left Hudson Regional with control of the property, and it is seeking state approvals to take over the operations as well.
Dr. Nizar Kifaieh, president and CEO of Hudson Regional, predicted the state would not transfer the Bayonne Medical Center operations to Bayonne Hospital LLC while Hudson Regional owned the property and was in a position to take over operations as well.
CarePoint and Hudson Regional have both reached out to the state Department of Health to decide on which group should take over, with the former also taking the legal route by filing a lawsuit against Hudson Regional claiming they had violated a confidentiality agreement after losing its bid.
In a petition to the state, local hospital staff said they enthusiastically support Bayonne Hospital LLC.
Davis, reiterating his intention to keep the hospital open, said he had confidence in Bayonne Hospital LLC which he believes has done everything “the right way” to become the new owners.
“Since March 14, we’ve become even more aware of how much we need a hospital in Bayonne,” Davis said, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Bayonne Hospital made sure we were all safe.”
Other doctors noted that during the pandemic, Jersey City Medical Center – which would have been the only other choice if not for BMC – had no room so there would have been no place Bayonne patients to go.
“Hudson Regional came up with this 11th hour proposal. Where it came from, I don’t know. But in the presence of the pandemic, I’m more comfortable with Bayonne Hospital LLC,” Davis said.
But the matter may rest in the hands of the state Department of Health, he said.
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