Hearing scheduled on the proposed transfer of ownership of the Bayonne Medical Center
The State Health Planning Board will hold a public hearing regarding the certificate of need request submitted to the Department of Health by IJKG Opco LLC, a subsidiary of CarePoint Health, which is the current operator of Bayonne Medical Center. The certificate of necessity, if granted, would allow the transfer of ownership of hospital operations.
CarePoint sold its assets, including the Bayonne medical center. In November 2019, Avery Eisenreich, owner of the operator of the retirement home Alaris Health, purchased the property, including the land and the building, from the Bayonne Medical Center.
Since then, CarePoint has been looking for an operator for the hospital, signing an agreement in 2020 with BMC Hospital LLC to operate the Bayonne Medical Center. Meanwhile, the Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus bought the property of the Bayonne Medical Center in Eisenreich for $ 76 million.
Since the sale closed, Hudson Regional has made it clear its intention to operate the hospital, not BMC Hospital LLC. This has sparked a war between the two entities over who will operate the hospital.
Scheduled public hearing
Council invites the public to comment on the request. Copies of the request are available for review at the Bayonne Public Library, the New Jersey State Library, and the New Jersey Department of Health.
Anyone wishing to make oral comments to the Commission is invited to attend the public hearing on this request on December 14. The hearing will take place in the Council Chamber on the 2nd floor of the Bayonne Public Library at 697, avenue C.
The board will receive comments from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. or at the end of the testimony, whichever is later. Comments will be limited to three minutes per person, although written comments can also be submitted at the same time.
In-person presence is limited to allow for social distancing. Anyone attending in person should wear a properly fitted mask and will be screened prior to entry for temperature or signs of COVID-19 illness as directed by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
The public can also attend the public hearing virtually through Microsoft Teams. Watch online or call by dialing 856-338-7074 with conference call ID 279177439.
Comments can also be submitted in writing after the hearing. Comments must be received by the State Health Planning Board no later than December 21. Mail Jamie Hernandez of the New Jersey Department of Health’s Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance on the 3rd Floor at 120 South Stockton Street in Trenton, 08625-0358, PO Box 358. For more information, call the Department of Health at 609-376-0960.
The chairman of the board speaks
Information on the meeting was released in part by City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski.
“It is important that the inhabitants of Bayonne keep themselves informed of the state of the Bayonne hospital,” she said. “It appears the New Jersey Department of Health has scheduled a public hearing on the transfer of a percentage of the hospital’s ownership.”
According to Ashe-Nadrowski, the demand would allow CarePoint to sell up to 49% of its stake in Bayonne Medical Center.
âWhile it is not clear from the public notice, this hearing is part of a process for CarePoint to sell up to 49% of the hospital,â she said. “I have always said that my main concern is to ensure that Bayonne has a full service hospital and that this process should be transparent.”
Ashe-Nadrowski said she wanted to make sure the public is aware of the hearing.
“I draw attention to the audience, because the Bayonnais must be informed,” she said. “I think the lack of publicity and the time of year it was scheduled to meet legal requirements but is certainly not designed to encourage public debate.”
Ashe-Nadrowski criticized the decision to condemn hospital ownership through eminent estate, opposing orders promoted by Mayor James Davis and his administration to remedy the situation in favor of BMC Hospital LLC. However, these ordinances were blocked at the Local Finance Council due to issues with the application. Meanwhile, CarePoint is moving from a for-profit system to a not-for-profit system, which further complicates matters.
The saga continues
Due to complications at the Local Finance Council, this hearing will be the first major hearing by a state entity regarding hospital ownership.
CarePoint Health, Hudson Regional Hospital and BMC Hospital LLC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
For updates on this and more, check out www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be contacted at [email protected]