HRH issues assurance notice to Bayonne hospital staff in midst of eminent domain fight

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Hudson Regional Hospital has issued an assurance notice to Bayonne Medical Center staff in the midst of an eminent domain fight that will come to a head at next week’s city council meeting.

“For all of the staff at Bayonne Medical Center … we assure that as operators of Bayonne Medical Center we are committed to making sure the hospital stays open as an acute care facility, that we’re willing to invest in the money and the time to bring that hospital up to par,” HRH CEO Dr. Nizar Kifaieh said in a Vimeo video.

“And make sure that you as staff are safe and secure in your positions and that whatever is needed to invest in your hospital: we’ll provide it to you.”

He continues that despite claims to the contrary, there is no “emergency” at the BMC that puts them in danger of closing in the foreseeable future.

While HRH and BMC Hospital have been engaged in a nearly year-long standoff over who will take over CarePoint’s three Hudson County hospitals, in particular the Bayonne Medical Center, the latest chapter revolves around eminent domain.

On Wednesday, the Bayonne City Council will vote on whether or not to begin a $95 million (HRH says it will end up costing over $100 million) eminent domain process to acquire the BMC land that HRH currently owns.

The governing body approved the first reading of two related measures at a special meeting last month, which BMC Hospital said at the time was “a positive step toward stabilizing health care access” for thousands of patients.

Earlier this week, HRH kicked off an aggressive mail and digital campaign pushing back against eminent domain, as HCV first reported.

Mayor Jimmy Davis on Monday that “the goal of the City of Bayonne is to pursue all available avenues for maintaining a community hospital to serve our residents.”

This is not a new strategy, as the Hudson County Board of Commissioners, then still freeholders, approved the ability to use eminent domain on any of CarePoint Health’s properties one year ago.

Meanwhile, HRH and BMC Hospital continue to be willing and able to trade punches, with the former issuing CarePoint Health a termination letter for their lease at the end of last year and BMC sending their adversaries a cease a desist letter in February.

The Bayonne City Council convenes at City Hall at 7 p.m., their first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, though the meeting will still be streamed for those who can’t attend.