BAYONNE, NJ - Just weeks after Mayor Jimmy Davis declared that any effort to close Bayonne Medical Center would have to go through him the Bayonne City Council introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would establish a Bayonne Hospital Authority. The new entity, according to City Attorney Joy Coffey, would take control of Bayonne Medical Center in the event its current owners CarePoint decides to close it.

“We're not going into the hospital business,” Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski clarified. “This is just insurance to have control if the hospital threatens to close.”

While denying that the it would be shuttered, CarePoint Health officials announced that they are seeking a “strategic partner” for the  local hospital that has provided care to generations of local residents for over 100 years and that interest from “well known” health care entities has been strong. 

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In the same statement the owners also announced that they have signed a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) with RWJBarnabas Health that will see Hoboken University Medical Center and Christ Hospital in Jersey City, and its affiliates, become a part of RWJBarnabas, “New Jersey’s most comprehensive academic health care system with a service area of nine counties covering five million people.”

Asked by resident Mike Morris about any potential liability the city would be taking on if it was forced to run the hospital through the new authority Coffey said that there are still details to be worked out once the city’s legislative body passes the ordinance.

The authority, allowed state regulations adopted in reaction to the threat to the potential closing of what was then St. Mary's Hospital in Hoboken, will have 11 trustees, including the mayor or his designee, members of the hospital’s staff, and residents who do not work for the hospital or local government. A non-voting trustee who is also the executive director of the hospital would also be appointed.

A public hearing and possible adoption of ordinance will be held on Nov 21. 

At the same meeting, the council also passed resolutions hiring Secaucus based Vision Media to deal with public relations as they relate to the hospital issue and a law firm to represent the city's interests in the matter.

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