Aggressive action is needed to assure the survival of three CarePoint Health hospitals in New Jersey, nine legislators have told the governor of the state.
Three New Jersey state senators and six assemblymen and assemblywomen sent a letter dated February 10 to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy concerning three CarePoint Hospitals in Hudson County that have been offered for sale for over a year: Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital and Hoboken University Medical Center.
In March 2019, the New Jersey State Commission on Investigations reported that at least $158 million was syphoned from the CarePoint owners into shell companies operated by those very same owners, legislators said in the letter..
WHY THIS MATTERS
The lawmakers fear that two of the hospitals are on the verge of bankruptcy and/or closure, leaving the Hudson County community without sufficient healthcare access.
"It now appears that Christ Hospital is on the verge of bankruptcy and petitioning for closure and Bayonne Medical Center is only a few weeks behind," they said.
They want CarePoint finances and transactions to be closely watched, in light of allegations of financial irregularities.
The nine legislators have asked the Governor's administration to appoint state monitors for Bayonne Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center. A monitor has already been appointed for Christ Hospital. They also want the appointment of receivers for Christ and Bayonne.
"Considering these and other allegations about irregularities that have since surfaced, we request that the Department of Health, Department of Banking and Insurance, and Attorney General investigate the operations of Clover Health and Alaris Health (both of which companies are owned and operated by CarePoint owners) to determine if similar actions that threaten to compromise patient care or are otherwise violative of regulations are underway," they said.
The near bankruptcy of the CarePoint hospitals is directly related to the decision by ownership to withdraw unreasonably large sums from their operations for personal profit at the detriment to services and the healthcare available to Hudson County residents, they said.
The lawmakers have requested an order be given by the Department of Health to enjoin any closing without a certificate of need and ensure the department takes action to nullify the sale of all real estate and to support an anticipated directive from Hudson County striking from the public record any document recorded on the transfer of real estate ownership or the transfer of shares.
THE LARGER TREND
CarePoint Health has dissolved and has been liquidating its assets, including the three hospitals, according to the Hudson Reporter.
In October of 2019, CarePoint and RWJBarnabas Health signed a letter of intent for Christ Hospital and Hoboken University Medical Center to become part of RWJBarnabas, but negotiations broke down.
In November, Avery Eisenreich, owner of Alaris, purchased the real estate of the Bayonne and Hoboken hospitals. Eisenreich also owns 25% of Christ Hospital, the report said.
The state Department of Health has held weekly calls with CarePoint to monitor the hospitals' financial viability.
Hudson County has added an estimated 60,000 new residents and has grown 9% over the last 10 years.
ON THE RECORD
"As the fastest growing county in the state and one of the most densely populated in the country, Hudson County remains in need of multiple acute care facilities to assure the health and safety of our residents," state lawmakers said.
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