SECAUCUS – A draft of an annual financial audit of the Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (MHMC) in Secaucus reveals that the 230-bed hospital defaulted on a loan and overdrew a bank account by $1 million in 2011, despite posting a 10 percent profit and paying investors $8.4 million, according to a published report in The Record.
Employees said paychecks bounced at least three times since December, which prompted an investigation by the state Department of Labor, according to the article, which said the hospital recorded an unprecedented turnaround of $9 million profit in 2011 compared to a $10.4 million loss in 2010, which is four times above the state average.
MHMC was sold to MHA LLC – a for-profit private investment firm – in December 2010. MHA purchased the hospital for $15 million from nonprofit owners Liberty HealthSystems, who run Jersey City Medical Center.
The owners disputed the findings in the financial audit. Owner Tamara Dunaev told The Record, “We made all the payments.” The loan, she said, was refinanced. The owners said the overdraft and the paycheck issues were their bank’s fault, not theirs.
Last year the principal owners, Dr. Richard Lipsky and Dunaev, blasted the previous nonprofit owners and said they left the hospital in poor condition, and also blamed the nurses union for “sabotaging” operations after a 25-page state report outlined deficiencies in the facility.
The Department of Health and Senior Services found several deficiencies with Meadowlands Hospital during an investigation conducted last year in response to health advocate complaints. At the one-year anniversary last December, then-CEO Mike Gregorio praised the hospital’s accomplishments, “one year ago we took over a hospital that was losing more than $1 million each month. A hospital that would, as our state officials recognized, close if MHA did not take over,” Gregorio said. “I can tell you today that we have done far more than just keep this hospital open. We have now a stronger, more vibrant and far more clinically vital hospital today than we did a year ago.”
Among the accomplishments, the hospital included an updated department of neuroscience and cognitive rehabilitation, the purchase of two hyperbaric oxygen chambers, and an update to an electronic records system.