As Chair of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority, I write to share with your readers information about the status of the authority’s implementation of the decision made last year to privatize the Hoboken University Medical Center (“Hospital”), and to set straight certain facts regarding the authority’s recent decision to negotiate with HUMC Holdco LLC, a company that shares ownership with the current owner of Bayonne Medical Center, to sell the hospital.
Last year, after a thorough analysis of the hospital’s finances and operations, the authority determined that the hospital requires a strategic partner that would provide necessary working capital needed to ensure the long term viability of the institution. A number of proposals were received in response to the Request for Proposals issued last summer. The authority spent a substantial amount of time and effort reviewing those proposals, and ultimately determined that the Holdco proposal best satisfied the goals set forth in the RFP.
I want to reiterate our commitment to the goals we outlined for the future of the hospital, including, most importantly, ensuring that it remains open to serve the residents of Hoboken as a full-service, acute-care, community hospital. The authority agreed upon these goals during the deliberate and comprehensive year-long analysis of the finances and operations of the hospital referenced above, a process that included public input from the Hoboken community. Specifically, we were determined to:
• Maintain the hospital as an acute-care community hospital
• Preserve the jobs of the hospital’s dedicated and experienced employees
• Continue the valuable working relationship with the medical staff
• Privatize the hospital so it will have access to capital going forward
• Relieve the City of Hoboken of the $52 million bond guarantee related to the hospital
Regarding the fact that the owners of Bayonne Medical Center operate that hospital without in-network agreements with insurers, please note that HUMC Holdco LLC has indicated its intention to pursue and secure fair and reasonable contracts with most, if not all, third-party payers (including insurance companies) following the receipt of all regulatory approvals for the acquisition of the Hospital. HUMC Holdco LLC has indicated that it will be pleased to enter into negotiations with any insurance provider that currently has a contract with the hospital. It is important to note that Medicare and Medicaid patient coverage will not be affected by any change in insurance contracts.
Finally, it is the authority’s intention to secure coverage for Hoboken city, Board of Education and Housing Authority employees under the self-insurance policy currently in place to ensure continued access to services at Hoboken University Medical Center. The authority sought and has received public input throughout the privatization process. Additional public forums will be held during the state’s regulatory review of any proposed sale.
The authority is responsible for ensuring the future stability of the hospital, and all the Commissioners take this duty seriously. We will continue to work diligently at every stage to evaluate the process and uphold the public’s interest above all.
Chair, Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority