Chiaravalloti hospital transparency clears state assembly, senate, now up to Murphy

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A hospital transparency bill sponsored by Bayonne Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) has cleared both the state assembly and senate and is now heading to Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) desk for his consideration.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The bill package (A-5916, A-5917, and A-5918) draws upon recommendations in the State
Commission of Investigation (SCI) report regarding hospital-related oversight and accountability in New Jersey.

The report said that three owners of CarePoint Health received $157 million in management fees from their Hudson County hospitals via a handful of limited liability companies that they own a majority stock in.

“Accessible healthcare is a human right. For a district as densely populated as the 31st, the
closure of a medical center could be the difference between life and death for our residents,” Chiaravalloti said in a statement.

“These measures make sure that no hospital ever reaches a point where their previously undisclosed financial situation is so dire that they are forced to close the facility- leaving the community blindsided. We cannot let what is happening in the 31st District happen around the state. I am proud of these bills and look forward to Governor Murphy signing them into law.”

One bill would give broader oversight capabilities to the state DOH by expanding its Early Warning System, whose purpose is to detect whether hospitals are nearing or already in financial distress.

The new legislation would also require the system to monitor the quantity and suitability of any fees, allocations and payments made to third parties.

Another bill would allow the Commissioner of Health to notify elected officials if certain
hospitals are found to be in financial distress.

Increased transparency would also be required of hospitals when it comes to providing financial information to the DOH.

The proposed measure would require non-profit hospitals to share IRS Form 990 and for-profit hospitals to submit equivalent information to the DOH in order to reveal aspects of their revenue and taxation.

Chiaravalloti introduced the bill last month, shortly after Hudson County officials held a press conference on the front lawn of the BMC, exclaiming that they would fight against any plan that would result in the closure of the facility.

The next day, Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health announced they would be acquiring the Jersey City Medical Center and the Hoboken University Medical Center, CarePoint Health’s other two hospitals, but the only update on the BMC is that they “initiated a separate process seeking a strategic partner.

The full assembly and senate approved the bills on Monday.