Bayonne mayor urges Murphy to advocate for BMC Hospital to take over local medical center

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Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis sent a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy (D) yesterday urging him to expedite the approval of the BMC Hospital LLC’s pending purchase of their local hospital, writing that the Peninsula City “desperately needs a qualified operator.”

By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View

In the letter, Davis said that the prolonged dispute over the facility between Hudson Regional and BMC LLC “is creating unnecessary instability within our health system and community — amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, no less.”

The DOH’s decision not to expedite the certificate of need application for BMC LLC “has exacerbated these issues,” the mayor contends.

“Continued delay risks closure of the hospital (or many of its services/departments), flight of medical staff, loss of healthcare access and the elimination of hundreds of jobs,” he continued. “None of these outcomes are acceptable to the Bayonne community.”

The battle over CarePoint’s three Hudson County hospitals has waged on for months as the DOH deliberates the certificate of need applications of both BMC Hospital and Hudson Regional Hospital – leaving plenty of room for a continual escalation of attacks from both sides.

CarePoint signed a letter of intent to sell the Bayonne Medical Center to a new operator, BMC Hospital, in March, but Hudson Regional Hospital revealed a $220 million land deal with Avery Eisenreich on the same day in June when CarePoint thought they were ready to move forward with BMC Hospital.

The land deal was made with Eisenreich, also the owner of Alaris Health, who also has control of 70 percent of the HUMC property and the entire BMC property.

CarePoint later filed suit against HRH alleging they were interfering in the sale of the Bayonne Medical Center, though a judge denied emergent relief in the case, which isn’t scheduled to go to trial until February 2021.

Lawmakers throughout the county have all backed BMC LLC, and last month the Hudson County Improvement Authority notified the property owners and operators of Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital and Hoboken Medical Center that eminent domain proceedings were underway.

The proceedings are “part of [the HCIA’s] ongoing due diligence efforts to ensure Hudson County residents continue to have access to proper and sustainable healthcare services,” Caitlin Mota, a spokeswoman for the agency, said previously.

Davis, in the letter, continued to push BMC LLC’s qualifications, and formally requested Murphy’s “intervention to ensure timely resolution o this matter.”

“I am mindful of the challenges that Department [of Health] officials faced this year in managing the pandemic across our state … Approval of this CN (certificate of need) is part and parcel to these efforts, because without Bayonne Medical Center … our community would have fared far worse than it did at the height of the pandemic.”

“Your attention to this mounting crisis is needed and critical to moving this process forward.”

Murphy’s office did not immediately return an inquiry seeking comment.

Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_