After weeks of calm, the Hudson County hospital crisis is heating up again.
Hudson Regional Hospital (HRH) has announced it has closed on the $76 million purchase of Bayonne Medical Center (BMC) real estate. HRH said it resubmitted an offer with proof of funds to purchase the hospital’s operations from current operator, CarePoint Health.
The saga continues
CarePoint Health is dissolving and has been liquidating its assets, including BMC, Hoboken University Medical Center, and Christ Hospital in Jersey City.
Avery Eisenreich purchased the land of BMC and Hoboken University Medical Center in November of 2019. CarePoint has been searching for a hospital operator for the facilities ever since, eventually signing a formal sale agreement with BMC Hospital LLC to operate Bayonne Medical Center.
CarePoint has also signed a letter of intent with RWJBarnabas Health whereby that company would acquire operations at both Hoboken University Medical Center and Christ Hospital.
Meanwhile, Hudson Regional Hospital has entered into a contract to buy the real estate of BMC and Hoboken University Medical Center from Eisenreich for $76 million, and $144 million respectively.
When the sale closes between Eisenreich and Hudson Regional Hospital, HRH intends to operate the hospitals, not BMC Hospital LLC. This has sparked a war between the two entities over who will operate the hospitals.
Closing on HUMC
HRH is also under contract to acquire the Hoboken University Medical Center real estate and will now focus on closing on that transaction.
HRH has also resubmitted an offer to CarePoint for the operations of both BMC and Hoboken University Medical Center. HRH first offered a deal for the operations at all three hospitals when it first announced the purchase of the two hospitals from Eisenreich.
“HRH is the natural next operator of Bayonne Medical Center, and we look forward to a response from CarePoint to our offer,” said Dr. Nizar Kifaieh, CEO of Hudson Regional Hospital.
Kifaieh said that HRH can provide stability and continuity to local residents and hospital employees by merging the operations of BMC with the ownership.
“Provided our offer to operate at Bayonne is accepted, we pledge to make similar physical plant improvements at Bayonne that we implemented at Hudson Regional Hospital, which promises to not only improve the quality of acute care in Bayonne, but also expand on the service offerings,” Kifaieh said.
Kifaieh said that HRH is committed to offering current staff employment on a go-forward basis, on similar terms that CarePoint is currently offering.
Avoiding eminent domain
HRH said, as operator of BMC, it will provide a 100 percent privately-funded solution without the need for any taxpayer dollars.
This is in reference to eminent domain proceedings, which the county is moving forward with to take possession of the three hospitals.
In May, the Hudson County Board of Freeholders voted to approve three resolutions invoking eminent domain on the three CarePoint Health hospitals.
The Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) has notified the property owners and operators of the three hospitals that an inspection of each facility will be conducted by the authority’s real estate appraisal experts, according to HCIA spokesperson Caitlin Mota.
HRH alleged that BMC Hospital LLC’s plan requires that the property be purchased through eminent domain and that the county will lease the land to BMC Hospital LLC at a reduced rate.
Another back and forth
President Wayne Hatami of BMC Hospital LLC responded, “HRH’s press release is a gimmick.”
“HRH is no closer to control over the land on which Bayonne Hospital operates,” Hatami said. “That will be decided by the courts, the Department of Health, and the eminent domain process already underway.”
HRH fired back that it filed a deed with the county that represents full control.
HRH said that the courts declined to enjoin the sale despite lawsuits filed by both BMC Hospital LLC and CarePoint and noted the NJ Department of Health rejected BMC Hospital LLC’s request for an expedited review of its application to operate BMC.
Hatami said that CarePoint has a lease, which HRH must respect, and that CarePoint has an exclusive agreement regarding the future operations of the hospital.
HRH countered that that agreement is subject to lease terms at their discretion.
Allegations, litigation, and more frustration
“The Bayonne community deserves an operator that is financially stable, will ensure access to high-quality health care, and will continue to operate the facility as a hospital and not turn it into a nursing home,” Hatami said, referencing accusations that Eisenreich is allegedly seeking to turn BMC into a nursing home.
HRH emphasized it operates acute care facilities and not nursing homes and has conferred with union officials on continuing hospital operations and offering current staff continuing employment.
Hatami also made allegations against HRH’s owner, Yan Moshe.
“HRH’s owner, Yan Moshe, faces a $65 million RICO conspiracy lawsuit involving fraudulent no-fault insurance claims, and he operates surgery centers that have allegedly infected patients with HIV,” Hatami said.
In turn, HRH slammed Hatami and BMC Hospital LLC’s leadership, composed of investors from the surgery-center chain Surgicore.
“In comparison to lawsuits Surgicore is facing, these references related to mundane insurance payment negotiations are non-issues,” according to a spokesperson for HRH. “To say that there was an alleged HIV infection when it has been widely reported that no infections of any kind resulted from Mr. Moshe’s operation of any facility is a libelous disparagement, and we are pursuing legal options.”
With multiple lawsuits and other complicating factors, the crisis appears far from over.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.