HUDSON COUNTY, NJ - State, county, and local officials have called on New Jersey State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli to assist in efforts to preserve acute care services at Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital, and Hoboken University Center.
In a letter dated June 5, and reviewed by TAPinto, the signers, led by Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, specifically asked the State’s top health official to assist them in obtaining “critical information” for their investigation and evaluation as they “move down the path of preserving these essential Facilities for the health welfare and safety of our residents.”
The same officials, including Mayors Ravi Bhalla, James Davis, Steven Fulop, and Brian Stack, who also serves as a New Jersey State Senator, as well as Norman Guerra, CEO, Hudson County Improvement Authority, referred to the effort as one of “intense due diligence and feasibility analysis” into the possibility of acquiring the facilities through eminent domain.
Capping off a week of competing statements by CarePoint Health and BMC Hospital, LLC, and Hudson Regional Hospital (HRH) and Avery Eisenreich, related to rightful ownership of the property and operations, the letter also referred to questions “about the apparent toxic and dysfunctional relationship between and among these parties,” as well as the impact the dispute may have on the communities as well as the future delivery of healthcare in the region.
“The situation has devolved into chaos” the letter states.
This “chaos” became apparent in previous days when both sides touted their own agreements for the future of the facilities, first with CarePoint and BMC Hospital, LLC announcing that they had finalized their deal for the operations of the more than 100-year-old healthcare provider and then hours later when HRH and Eisenreich shared news of their $220 million arrangement that also includes the purchase of the land on which Hoboken University Medical Center stands.
There is “zero chance” that BMC Hospital LLC will become the operators of Bayonne Medical Center officials at Hudson Regional Hospital said later.
The letter further raised the concern that Eisenreich, who currently owns the land that the Bayonne facility stands on will “repurpose it as a long term care facility or nursing home,” and accuses him of “playing a very dangerous game and jeopardizing the health, safety, and welfare for hundreds of thousands of individuals,” as well as putting thousands of jobs at risk. Eisienreich previously sought to construct a $25 million senior care facility on property adjacent to the Bayonne Medical Center.
HRH officials, however, have said that they expected to “marry land ownership with hospital operations,” ultimately “creating a premier hospital network in Hudson County.”
Weighing in on the letter in their own statement was CarePoint Health who shared their commitment to “provide all information necessary to the Hudson County Improvement Authority and the Department of Health” to ensure the preservation of the hospitals and the services they provide to the communities.
“CarePoint and its physicians, nurses, employees and staff echo the concern that the current landowner/nursing home operator and its cohorts continue to hi-jack the process that will ensure the stability and future of these critical acute care hospitals,” the statement continued. “The focus of our heroic physicians, nurses and employees should be on patient care and preparing for a second wave of the pandemic not whether greedy landowners and real estate developers are threatening the future of the hospitals.”
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