Will Bayonne Medical Center flatline?

Mayor Jimmy Davis said he was tipped off on plans to close Bayonne's only full-service hospital

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis publicly announced that he’d received word from credible sources that RWJBarnabas Health has plans to buy out CarePoint Health systems. That merger, he said, could lead to the closure of Bayonne’s only full-service hospital, Bayonne Medical Center.

On the afternoon of Oct. 21, Davis and Bayonne City  Council members were joined by Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Assembly members Angela McKnight and Nick Chiaravalotti, Senator Sandra Cunningham, several union leaders who represent Bayonne Medical Center employees, and several members of the public to make the announcement on the front lawn of Bayonne Medical Center.

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RWJ Barnabas currently owns a satellite healthcare facility in Bayonne, which opened in 2017. CarePoint first purchased Bayonne Medical Center in 2008. There has been a full-service hospital on the site of Bayonne Medical Center for more than 100 years.

“We’re here to sound the alarm on what could be a major health crisis for our city,” Davis said. “In the past few days, we have learned that there is a deal in the works where RWJ Barnabas could purchase CarePoint Health Systems, which owns Bayonne Medical Center. After the sale is complete, the plan is to shut down our hospital. Nothing is finalized yet. We’re here today because we believe there may be a chance to prevent this from happening, and we will do everything we need to in order to make sure it doesn’t happen. My message to CarePoint and RWJ Barnabas is simple. If you want to close our hospital, you’re going to have to go through me.”

CarePoint spokesperson Jennifer Morrill said that the company has plans to make an announcement in the near future, but that it’s “premature” to disclose any details.

“CarePoint is in the process of seeking a strategic partnership with another health system for its hospitals and we hope to announce something in the near future,” Morrill said. “While it’s premature at this time to share additional details, the goal has been and remains that our hospitals continue delivering excellent care to our community.”

It’s also unclear how hospitals across the county would be affected in the wake of the potential merger between RWJ Barnabas and CarePoint, should such a merger go through.

Hudson County Executive Tome DeGise noted that for residents of Bayonne’s Bergen Point neighborhood, the next closest hospital that they would be able to access, should Bayonne Medical Center close, is Jersey City Medical Center. In an emergency or any other situation, a resident in southern Bayonne would have to travel nine miles through some of the most heavily-trafficked roads in the county to receive treatment at a full-service hospital.

Officials said that should the merger occur, RWJ Barnabas would need to receive approval from the New Jersey Department of Health before shutting down the hospital.

For updates on this and more stories check hudsonreporter.com or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at mikem@hudsonreporter.com.

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