BMC Hospital LLC has acquired 9.9 percent ownership of the hospital operations of Bayonne Medical Center. According to BMC Hospital LLC, it plans to acquire additional ownership of hospital operations in the future.
A crisis in the making
CarePoint Health is dissolving and has been liquidating its assets, including Bayonne Medical Center, Hoboken University Medical Center, and Christ Hospital in Jersey City.
Avery Eisenreich, owner of nursing home operator Alaris Health, purchased the land of Bayonne Medical Center and 70 percent of the land of Hoboken University Medical Center in November of 2019.
CarePoint has been searching for an operator for the facilities ever since, eventually signing a formal sale agreement with BMC Hospital LLC to operate Bayonne Medical Center. BMC Hospital LLC’s leadership is composed of investors from the surgery-center chain Surgicore.
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 in Secaucus has closed on the purchase of the real estate of Bayonne Medical Center for $76 million and is in contract with Eisenreich to acquire Hoboken University Medical Center for $144 million.
When the sales close between Hudson Regional Hospital and Eisenreich, Hudson Regional Hospital intends to operate the hospitals, not BMC Hospital LLC. This has sparked a war between the two entities over who will operate the hospitals.
Minority ownership of operations
BMC Hospital LLC maintains that it’s entitled to acquire hospital operations under its agreement with CarePoint, following review and approval from the New Jersey Department of Health.
According to BMC Hospital LLC, the Department of Health was notified in late October of the acquisition, which did not require departmental approval because regulations allow transfer of ownership under 10 percent to proceed without it.
A second application was filed for an additional transfer of 39.1 percent that would make BMC Hospital LLC a 49 percent minority owner of operations at Bayonne Medical Center.
This application would require Department of Health approval because the size of ownership would exceed 10 percent.
“With this interim and significant investment in the hospital, BMCH advances closer to its goal of taking over full ownership of the operations of Bayonne hospital,” said Wayne Hatami, President of BMC Hospital LLC.
Will the real property owner please stand up?
Meanwhile, Hudson Regional Hospital has reiterated that the landowner has the right to determine the operator of the hospital.
Since it now owns Bayonne Medical Center’s real estate, Hudson Regional has said it can determine the hospital operator. And Hudson Regional Hospital has said that it would operate the facility and not BMC Hospital LLC.
However, BMC Hospital LLC has repeatedly claimed that Hudson Regional Hospital does not own the real property in Bayonne.
According to a spokesperson for Hudson Regional Hospital, there is “no confusion as to the ownership of the Bayonne Medical Center property.”
Hudson Regional Hospital said the validity of its purchase has been repeatedly affirmed by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Jablonski. Hudson Regional Hospital and BMC Hospital LLC have been embroiled in a lawsuit for “obstructing” the agreement between BMC Hospital LLC and CarePoint where BMC Hospital LLC would take over operations.
In October, state Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti and state Senator Joseph Vitale penned a letter to the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli regarding the oversight of hospital real estate transactions, specifically Bayonne Medical Center. However, as with past pleas, calls for help have fallen on deaf ears.
Both entities have doubled down on their rhetoric and remain optimistic that the court will rule in their favor. As lawsuits drag on, the hospital crisis in Hudson County appears far from over.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.