HUDSON COUNTY, NJ - Bayonne Medical Center is set to take on new owners in the coming months, but, according to competing statements, who those owners will be is still in question.
On Tuesday, CarePoint Health, the operators of the local hospital that has provided healthcare to local residents for more than 100, issued a joint statement with BMC Hospital, LLC officials announcing that a tentative agreement they reached in March had been finalized.
Local and county officials welcomed the announcement with Mayor Jimmy Davis, whose been perhaps the loudest proponent of protecting the local facility, saying that “we are closer to saving our hospital.”
Hudson County Freeholder Kenny Kopacz said that the announcement was “great news,” and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise shared his belief that the arrangement ensured that Bayonne Medical Center, or what the new owners plan to call Bayonne Hospital, “is in sound hands.”
As they have stated previously, the proposed new buyers, through BMC Hospital LLC President Wayne Hatami, said that they planned on honoring the medical center’s history as a “community with top-notch medical professionals providing essential services to a close-knit city with a proud heritage” by working with local public officials and state health authorities to “realize the next chapter in Bayonne Medical Center’s history.”
Hatami and his partners have also said that they plan to expand the hospital’s broad healthcare services, provided by more physicians from throughout the region, with more specialties. These expanded services will, they say, more fully utilize hospital capacity while maintaining the hospital as the traditional healthcare centerpiece of the community, they say.
Just hours after this statement was released, Hudson Regional Hospital (HRH) officials made their own announcement that they had bought the property that Bayonne Medical Center stands on from current owner Avery Eisenreich for $76 million. The land that houses Hoboken University Medical Center was also included in the package for $144 million, they added.
WTFK Propco, an LLC created by Alaris Health owner Avery Eisenreich, the owner of more than 20 nursing homes in northern New Jersey, purchased the property in November 2019.
Seeking to counteract an effort by Eisenreich to use the land for anything other than a hospital, the City of Bayonne created Municipal Hospital Authority and then rezoned the property for exclusive hospital use.
The city has also moved ahead with plans that could potentially take the property through eminent domain and recently approved a measure to reach an agreement with the Hudson County Improvement Authority that could lead to the takeover of the property.
In their statement, HRH officials, who reported that they had offered to purchase them from CarePoint last week, said that they expected to “marry land ownership with hospital operations,” ultimately “creating a premier hospital network in Hudson County.”
Not so fast, CarePoint, who has “significant claims” filed against Eisenreich regarding his ability to sell the land, said.
“CarePoint health and BMC Hospital do not agree with Hudson Regional’s interpretation of the existing lease and the rights of the landlord to an assignment of sublet of the lease,” adding a strike through the heart of the HRH deal with Eisenreich by saying that even if they do become “landlord” of the property that “does not give it the right to take over the hospitals.”
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