The State Health Planning Board postponed the sale of 39.1 percent the Bayonne Medical Center to BMC Hospital LLC yesterday, noting that their application to convert to a nonprofit organization is still pending.
By John Heinis/Hudson Count View
“As we argued to the board today, the transfer of CarePoint’s controlling shares in the hospital to a not-for-profit raises numerous regulatory and legal issues, in particular because CarePoint’s plan to step aside from its role as controlling shareholder leaves the continued source of funding to operate the hospital unclear, and the proposed minority shareholder, BMC Hospital, LLC has not been forthcoming with regard to its intended source of capital, if any,” Thomas A. Abbate, of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP and counsel for Hudson Regional Hospital.
The transaction had been recommended for approval by the New Jersey Department of Health, who referred the matter to the board for review at Friday’s meeting.
After the application was advanced by the NJ DOH, it was learned that CarePoint Health had unilaterally started the process of divesting itself of a controlling interest in Bayonne Medical Center by transferring those shares to an unfunded not-for-profit entity.
BMC Hospital acquired 9.9 percent ownership of the Bayonne Medical Center in November 2020, while CarePoint, which also owns the Hoboken University Medical Center and Christ Hospital in Jersey City, announced plans to become a nonprofit in October.
HRH, which owns the Bayonne Medical Center Property, has pending litigation against CarePoint, alleging numerous defaults under its lease of the property, and has consistently objected to the proposed transfers on the grounds that it is not in the best interests of Hudson County residents.
“If CarePoint is permitted to surrender its interests in Bayonne Medical Center to a newly-formed, cash-starved entity controlled by local politicians and their cronies, the potential for mischief is limitless,” said HRH spokesman Ron Simoncini.
“In the absence of a clear plan for financing of the needed capital and operational needs of the hospital, and without putting forth a skilled successor hospital operator with a track record of success, it is the taxpayers who would be left holding the bag if the current plan fails.”
In response, BMC Hospital said that despite the setback, they expect the application to be approved at the board’s June meeting.
“We appreciate the work of department staff and the members of the State Health Planning Board and the need to conduct appropriate diligence on this application. While we believe the limited ownership transfer application that was before the board this week has nothing to do with CarePoint’s ongoing efforts to move towards a nonprofit structure, we fully expect to receive the boards ultimate approval in June.”
HRH and BMC Hospital have been slugging it out to acquire the Bayonne Medical Center since June 2020, when CarePoint announced BMC would be taking over and HRH almost revealed they had acquired the hospital land in Bayonne and Hoboken for $220 million.
CarePoint could not immediately be reach for comment on Friday afternoon.