In a statement released Monday night, hospital officials stated: “In order to maintain financial stability and to preserve its commitment to its patients, Christ Hospital has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. This reorganization process will ensure that Christ Hospital will continue to serve the Hudson County community as an acute care facility.”
HPAE, activists from NJ Citizen action, and Save Christ Hospital have planned a press conference and rally outside Christ for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. to call on the board of trustees to ensure the interests of the community are protected during the Chapter 11 reorganization and possible hospital sale to another buyer.
The rally will take place outside Christ Hospital, located at 176 Palisade Ave. in Jersey City.
The statement from Christ goes on to quote Christ Hospital President and CEO Peter Kelly, who said, “We will continue to provide state-of-the-art healthcare through our wide-range of medical services. Christ Hospital has been a central part of Hudson County for nearly 140 years and the residents of Hudson County should know that Christ Hospital will continue to fulfill its mission as a community healthcare provider.”
In response the announcement, Ann Twomey, president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), the union that represents 400 Registered Nurses at Christ, said, “The deal to sell Christ Hospital to a California for-profit company under investigation, Prime Healthcare Services (PHS), was always a bad deal for our patients, community and staff, and it has now collapsed under the scrutiny of state government and community leaders. Christ Hospital CEO Peter Kelly failed to allow other bids, wasting time and now bringing our hospital to bankruptcy. Christ Hospital focused on pursuing this poorly-developed deal with PHS – demanding fast-track review and secrecy – while other bids might have been better and therefore successful. Contrary to what Mr. Kelly has stated, the choice was never between Prime and closure, and other bidders have now come forward. However, Christ Hospital has now declared bankruptcy. Though we would not have chosen this path for the hospital, bankruptcy court can provide protection for our hospital and its services during the next period of time, a structure and oversight that was clearly missing at the Christ Hospital management offices, and allow for consideration of all bids.”
Twomey added, “Christ Hospital board members also have an opportunity to get it right this time – to choose a bidder and financing that puts patients and community first. HPAE intends to monitor the bankruptcy process to protect employees and patients, and to advocate for the buyer who will make a serious, long-term commitment to the hospital, to our healthcare services, and to the staff. Following the bankruptcy process, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the New Jersey Office of Attorney General will also provide further oversight through the Certificate of Need application and the Community HealthCare Assets Protection Act (CHAPA) process. We would urge the community and our elected officials to join us in monitoring the process, to urge the Christ Hospital Board to get it right this time, and to help find the financing to keep Christ Hospital serving this community through this process.”
The Episcopal Church founded Christ Hospital 139 years ago. Today the facility includes inpatient and outpatient procedures; behavioral health; cardiac care; emergency services; obstetrics and maternity; oncology; pediatrics and maternity; radiology; surgical; and vascular laboratory services. Despite the broad array of services offered, the facility loses about $800,000 a month.
For past reports on this issue, see links below. – E. Assata Wright