BAYONNE, NJ - As if the purchase of Bayonne Medical Center was not confusing enough, CarePoint Health and Hudson Regional both came away with completely different readings of a Superior Court ruling earlier this week.
After announcing that it intended to sell Bayonne Medical Center, which it has owned since 2010, CarePoint said that they selected BMC LLC as the purchaser. This came after rejecting a bid submitted by Secaucus-based Hudson Regional Hospital (HRH).
HRH then announced it was buying the land under Bayonne Medical Center, which may be a key piece in having the state Department of Health award the operations to HRH instead of BMC. BMC filed suit claiming HRH was interfering with the sale.
In a statement CarePoint said the court is allowing BMC LLC to continue its suit against Hudson Regional for this alleged interference, a ruling, Carepoint officials said, that allows the probe into Hudson Regionals land purchase to continue.
The judge, according to CarePoint based his ruling largely on the fact that BMC has raised questions about HRH’s and the other defendants’ “credibility and underlying motives” and “true intentions” in these matters.
Hudson Regional in their own release claimed that the court rejected BMC LLC’s efforts to halt Hudson Regional’s purchase of the operations.
In its interpretation of the court ruling, HRH said the court rejected BMC LLC’s motions as “impermissible and unconstitutional.” The Court also emphatically denied BMC, LLC’s request to restrain HRH from its business operations related to BMC. The Court left these issues at the sole discretion of the Department of Health, which already declined to intercede in that matter.
“We expected this decision and applaud the judge for recognizing the absurdity of BMC, LLC’s applications,” says Dr. Nizar Kifaieh, CEO of Hudson Regional Hospital. “It is a great misfortune to Hudson County that any healthcare organization would attempt to use the courts to disrupt straightforward business dealings between private parties, but BMC, LLC is shameless in their pursuit of public funding that will enrich its partners and drain resources out of the public health system and cost taxpayers tens of millions.”
Meanwhile CarePoint said that among the questions raised are those related to who owns the land under which Bayonne Hospital operates. HRH has claimed in press statements, Department of Health (DOH) documents, and court filings that it owns the property. But according to CarePoint, HRH admitted to the DOH in writing in late August that HRH did not in fact own the real property in Bayonne. The Court noted that HRH has “abandoned” certain arguments previously made.
“Today’s rulings show that Hudson Regional Health has been lying to the people of Bayonne. As the judge noted today, HRH does not in fact own the land under Bayonne Hospital. That completely contradicts statements they have made on repeated occasions. In light of this, the tens of thousands of patients who rely on Bayonne Hospital for care have a legitimate reason to wonder what else HRH is lying about,” said Wayne Hatami, President of BMC LLC.
BMC has pursued these claims to prevent HRH’s continued efforts to obstruct an agreement between the current owners of Bayonne Medical Center and the BMC team to take over ownership of the Bayonne hospital. The agreement was executed in June and gives BMC exclusive rights to negotiate a final plan to take over operations of the hospital without interference from other parties. In lieu of granting any immediate relief to BMC, the court’s ruling left unaltered the schedule for continued proceedings in the case, which will include probing into the HRH’s conflicting claims and submissions, and the actual ownership of the Bayonne real property.
HRH contradicted its previous statements and court filings when it wrote to DOH on Aug. 25 admitting that that HRH did own or hold title to the property, and that its only interest was a loan of less than 1/8 of the land’s purchase price to the land’s actual purchaser. HRH then relied on that lack of ownership as an excuse to withhold from DOH the documents and information DOH had demanded. As part of today’s ruling, according to CarePoint, the court stated on the record that the DOH in fact is entitled to all relevant information concerning these matters involving Bayonne Hospital, and that interested parties “have an obligation” to provide it.
“The citizens of Bayonne deserve to have their voices heard and they are rightfully no longer willing to tolerate lies and wasteful litigation necessitated by HRH’s shifting positions and secret deals. It is time for the Department of Health to confirm what the BMC team has requested, that their agreement with CarePoint to take over operations of Bayonne hospital be allowed to move forward,” concluded Hatami.
HRH, however, said the complicated matter will be resolved in its favor.
“Eventually, the courts will sort out this matter and justice will prevail on any remaining claims that BMC, LLC made that could not be determined today,” said Dr. Kifaieh. “In the meantime, we expect BMC, LLC to continue their reckless attempts to slander and interrupt Hudson Regional Hospital’s plan to create a premier acute care network in Hudson County. We will not be deterred, and we expect that depositions of the BMC, LLC principals and other evidence we have gathered will reveal their mission is to hoodwink the public into an illegal eminent domain scheme. We are going to prevent this by asserting our rights in protection of our and the public’s interests as we impose the conditions of our current lease of the Bayonne Medical Center property.”
Sign up for TAPinto Bayonne E-News alerts to be the first to read about all things Bayonne!
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Steve Lenox and tell him about it.