Of the 50 members who voted, 49 asked for the removal of the two top officials at the BMC.
Robert Evans, president and chief executive officer, has resigned from the hospital to take up a similar position in the Cathedral Health Care System in Newark.
The Coalition to Save Bayonne Medical Center has raised numerous questions about some of the changes going on at the hospital that include cut backs in services and loss of jobs at the same time BMC is seeking to purchase St. Vincent's Hospital.
While hospital officials claim the cut backs are not related to the purchase, coalition members believe the cut backs were made in order to allegedly improve the fiscal image of the BMC so the sale would go through. The coalition has asked several times for the state of New Jersey to set up an independent monitor that will look over the hospital's business practices
On Nov. 30, the sale received another critical approval by the New York State Department of Health's Project Review Committee which unanimously approved the sale, setting the stage for a health before the New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council meeting on Dec. 7.
The New York State Health Commissioner must approve the sale for it to take place, but is often guided by several Health Department bodies - which have voted in favor of BMC's bid.
Former Bayonne Councilmember Mary J. Desmond, who serves as a spokesperson for the coalition, said these approvals came as no surprise since the New York wants to save St. Vincent's Hospital through the sale.
St. Vincent's Hospital is part of a bankrupt medical system. But BMC officials claim St. Vincent's is financially sound and that most of its problems come as a result of having to siphon off its own profits in order to help fund other money-losing operations in the system. Once purchased and upgraded, St. Vincent's can be profitable.
The coalition is seeking a review of the whole situation to determine if Bayonne residents - who are serviced by BMC - are suffering cut backs because of the hospital's purchase. The no confidence vote comes after months of seeking an independent review by the State Department of Health in New Jersey.
On Nov. 2, the New Jersey Attorney General's office notified the BMC that investigators would be looking into the situation.
"It has come to our attention that the Board of Trustees of Bayonne Medical Center is contemplating a corporate restructuring that will result in the Medical Center becoming part of a multi-hospital system," wrote Jay Ganzman, deputy Attorney General.
Ganzman, however, was led to believe that the two hospitals would become partners in a new medical system that automatically triggers a review.
Paul Swibinski, spokesperson for BMC, said two hospitals would operate independently from each other, although they would be partnering on various purchasing agreements to lower costs.
While Brockman will serve as president of Bridge Regional Health System, which over sees the two hospitals, Swibinski said each hospital would have its own board of directors and run separately.
"Besides sharing some of the administrative costs and doing some joint purchasing, the two hospitals will be distinctive," he said.
The new board of St. Vincent's (expected to be renamed Richmond University Medical Center) will be reshaped to better resemble the BMC board.
"Physicians will have a lot to say," Swibinski said. "The Staten Island hospital will be largely run by Staten Island people and Bayonne Medical Center will continue with the same board in place operating under the same bi-laws and the same structure."
The meeting that was not a meeting
Dr. John DeDouisis, president of the Medical Staff, claimed the medical staff no confidence vote was flawed in several regards.
The meeting, he said, did not follow the staff's bylaws. The meeting was not called by or overseen by medical staff leadership, and the entire medical staff was not notified. No records were kept of whom or how many attended the meeting.
"It is to my understanding that some of the people who attended this meeting were not physicians," DeDouisis said. "It is also my understanding that during the meeting people who were not in favor of this motion were asked to leave. Even if their claim of 49 votes is accurate, we have a staff of 252."
"We have serious questions about the number of doctors that attended," Swibinski said. "Only six doctors signed the letter to the board. We believe if 50 people did attend, they were likely other employees and people not even employed at the hospital."
Closing of the delivery room was last straw
The coalition emerged in force during the summer when BMC announced the closing of delivery room and other services. This was one of many changes that had been made over the last year but became a rallying cry among medical staff and members of the community.
While hospital officials claim the delivery room was closed because of a reduced number of births over the last few years, coalition members say the department saw less and less support so that doctors working in the department were forced to leave.
But the real conflict appears to be over the philosophy of the hospital, and whom it will service in the future.
Because of changes in the medical field, hospitals like BMC are finding it more and more difficult to finance departments that supply some basic services. BMC, while still offering services through the Emergency Room, steers people to other facilities for follow up.
This means that medical staff who currently work in some departments have seen a loss of jobs, and a potential change in the direction of medical services to more sophisticated and more profitable services. This means that workers currently employed in more traditional services may see their jobs vanish and the community may rely less on BMC for many of the services of the past.
Many coalition members, however, said they would like a better accounting of the circumstance behind closures and an objective public body to review the chances the board of trustee and hospital administrators are making.