HUMC: We’re not closing
Hoboken University Medical Center CEO Spiros Hatiras last week contradicted a report from Gov. Chris Christie’s transition team that claimed the hospital will be closing in few months.
Hatiras made the statement at an emergency press conference on Friday.
The report claimed that $7 million in stabilization funds given to the hospital was a waste of state resources, but Hatiras said the transition team based their claim on hearsay, not data.
“We're baffled,” Hatiras said repeatedly. “We never spoke to the transition team. They never saw any financials. They never saw a business plan.”
Hatiras noted that another hospital that received stabilization funds has filed for bankruptcy. He wondered why that hospital wasn’t named in the report, rather than HUMC.
Hatiras said he is presenting a budget with a $3 million surplus (before depreciation) to the Municipal Hospital Board on Wednesday. In other words, the hospital has some money to spare this year.
He was upset that the state would present such information on its website, but said that he did not think it represents policy that will be carried forward by the Christie administration, rather just a recommendation with an unsubstantiated claim.
Employees are worried, he said, especially after agreeing to salary cuts earlier this month to keep the hospital alive.
Hatiras planned to meet with hospital employees on Friday to assure them the hospital is not closing.
Some people are speculating that Christie's team took a swipe at HUMC to score political point because it is the home of outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine.
A member of the transition team told Hatiras confidentially that no data was used in creating the report, rather, the team relied on the expertise of its members. A member of the team also confirmed this to the Reporter.
Only one member of the transition team is based in Hudson County, according to HUMC Vice President of External Affairs Joan Quigley, who is also a state Assemblywoman. Christopher Rinn, director of Emergency Medical Services at Jersey City Medical Center, served on the team.
But Rinn said he could not comment on the report.
Rinn was quoted in the Reporter last week as part of a dispute between JCMC and HUMC over a claim by Hatiras that JCMC ambulances are diverting some patients past neighboring hospitals, including Hoboken, to JCMC.
David L. Knowlton, president and CEO of New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, who chaired the transition team subcommittee on heath care that produced the report, was also not available for comment Friday.
Quigley said, "It's like a doctor walking down the street and saying you [pointing], you have three months to live."
Superintendent candidate forum
The Hoboken Board of Education is hosting a meet-and-greet forum for the community to introduce the two finalists for the superintendent of schools position.
The forum is on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Hoboken High School auditorium.
The board said they could not immediately release the name of the two finalists because one of the two had not yet communicated the job opportunity to his current employer.
Third swine flu clinic
The city announced they will be hosting a third H1N1 Swine Flu Clinic on Wednesday, Feb. 3 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Assumption Hall at Hoboken University Medical Center. More details to follow.
Special budget workshop planned
The City Council has scheduled a special budget workshop meeting on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 94 Washington St.
Finance Committee Chairperson Michael Lenz said city directors will be at the meeting to answer council questions. The meeting will be public, but residents will not be able to address the directors directly. Rather, he said, taxpayers can forward their questions to a councilperson beforehand to be asked.
The public will also be able to speak out at a public budget hearing at a future meeting before the council makes a final vote.
Benefit for food pantry
The Winter Classic Benefit & Food Drive will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30 to help the local charity In Jesus’ Name, which works to meet the needs of the poor, elderly, and displaced in Hoboken.
The event, from 7:30 p.m. to midnight at Our Lady of Grace Parish Hall, corner of Fifth Street and Willow Avenue, is open anyone over 21-year-old. It is a B.Y.O.B. with food from local Hoboken restaurants and refreshments provided.
Tickets are $10 per person or $15 per couple in advance, or $15 and $25 at the door.
The gift raffle features prizes from Davida Salon, Homeslice, Bella Ro, and more, along with a 50/50.
Donations are desperately needed. Organizers ask that guests bring a non-perishable food item to the event.
For those that cannot attend, donations can be brought to church the weekends of Jan. 23 and Jan. 30.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to In Jesus’ Name.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (201) 659-0369.