HRH, BMC Hospital issue dueling Bayonne Medical Center proposals ahead of state hearing

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Hudson Regional Hospital and BMC Hospital LLC have issued dueling proposals related to the Bayonne Medical Center ahead of a hearing tomorrow regarding a $95 million eminent domain plan in front of the Local Finance Board in Trenton.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

A consent order for conditional settlement prepared by DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, & Giblin LLP, dated yesterday, says that HRH – who owns the Bayonne Medical Center property – would designate the property for an acute care hospital only as long as eminent domain is not exercised by the city.

“Bayonne and Hudson Regional Hospital are fighting for the same thing: that Bayonne
Medical Center should always be a high-performing acute care facility,” HRH CEO Dr. Nizar Kifaieh said in a statement.

“At our expense, we are taking this action to help the city avoid an unnecessary, expensive, lengthy process to secure the property forever.”

In a letter to the Bayonne City Council yesterday, HRH, through attorney Thomas Abbate, outlines why this is the best option for the city.

“Furthermore, the suggestion that the cost to acquire the real estate will not approach the
$95M proposed bonding cap is wrong. We believe that the value of the property is well north of $100M, will involve years of litigation that we believe will result in dismissal of any eminent domain action, and will leave the City no closer to actually acquiring title to the land,” he wrote.

“By contrast, to resolve this matter today, the City need only instruct its legal counsel to sign, and return the enclosed form of Court Order.”

After about four hours, the city council tabled two ordinances up for second reading at their May 12th meeting that would’ve started a $95 million eminent domain process on the hospital land.

Special Counsel Joe DeMarco told the council early on at that meeting that the Local Finance Board should be hearing the matter first and has that item on their schedule for 12:20 p.m. tomorrow, according to a copy of their agenda.

The Bayonne council will also be holding their caucus meeting tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. and the eminent domain ordinances are currently on the agenda.

Of course, BMC Hospital favors an eminent domain plan and called HRH’s offer “disingenuous.”

“This so called ‘offer’ from HRH is disingenuous. Over the past several weeks, the team at BMC Hospital LLC has been negotiating with HRH in good faith to see if we could find a solution to the impasse and stop their obstruction of our ability to operate the hospital,” the company said in a statement.

“As we now know, HRH was never serious about these discussions and walked away from multiple generous offers that we put on the table.”

In their own proposal to the city council dated today, BMC Hospital offers to cover the monthly debt service on the related bonds, monthly proration of the real estate taxes at 2020 levels, provide a security deposit equivalent to three years rent, cover expenses related to utilities, maintenance and repair, and/or capital improvements.

The also offer to pay for any increases in real estate taxes and the cost of fire insurance, among other things.

Referring to BMC Hospital as “never being a credible course of information” throughout this process, HRH spokesman Ron Simoncini noted “the legally binding solution we have offered the city will stabilize healthcare for the people of Bayonne. Period.”

In the event that the eminent domain ordinances makes it back on the agenda at the June 16th council meeting, it still seems unlikely that the governing body will have the four votes necessary to approve a bonding measure.

Council President Sharon Nadrowski has come out against the eminent domain plan, while 2nd Ward Councilman Sal Gullace has to abstain as a Bayonne Medical Center board member.

 

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