NJ Appleseed Director starts online petition to stop HUMC Sale

The Director of the NJ Appleseed Public Interest Law Center has started an online petition at Change.org – to stop the sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center.

OVERVIEW

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, urge the Governor and the Department of Health and Senior Services to reject the Certificate of Need Application filed by Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority to transfer the license to operate Hoboken University Medical Center to the for-profit entity whose owners currently operate Bayonne Medical Center. It is the government’s obligation to ensure that the Authority’s public assets are protected for continued community use and that the public’s interest is adequately represented, promoted and served by this transaction.

Based on the track record of Bayonne Medical Center including termination of nearly all insurance contracts, dramatic increases in the cost of in-patient care, and some of the lowest quality of care scores in the county, we believe that the process undertaken by the Authority has not provided the Hoboken community and stakeholders with the best option available. We are specifically concerned that the transaction is likely to have a negative impact on the quality, affordability and accessibility of health care services in Hoboken and Hudson County generally.

  • Shifted the costs of indigent care (uninsured and low income) to other local hospitals such as Jersey City Medical Center, Meadowlands Hospital, and Christ Hospital by decreasing Indigent and Charity Care admissions by 27% in 2008 and 2009;
  • Complied unevenly, at best, with its current Certification of Need requirements; and
  • Created a hostile work environment that has included the lock-out of all employees in the summer of 2009.

Petition to stop sale of HUMC

Indeed, pursuant to a recent national survey (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) only 38% of Bayonne patients stated that they would “definitely recommend” the Hospital to others.

On the foregoing track record, we believe that the owners of Bayonne Medical Center do not deserve and have not “earned” the right to operate a second New Jersey hospital.

This is a local decision that will have statewide impact. The prospective purchaser of Hoboken University Medical Center must hold a regional perspective, be willing to coordinate with other neighboring hospitals in Hudson County, and adopt policies and practices that expand access, reduce costs, and keep the hospital accountable to the community. The operators of Bayonne do not meet this standard and we urge the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority to actively seek operators who have these goals in mind.

Please support this petition and have your voice heard.

Our concerns are based on the following:

Despite the fact that the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority is a public body subject to open meetings and records laws, the sales process has not been transparent. At minimum, the Authority must identify all organizations that were interested in purchasing and operating the hospital, and must disclose the specifics of their proposals for public review; and

Despite the fact that the proposed purchaser operates a hospital in Hudson County, the track record of such entity with respect to quality of service, cost, and patient access has apparently not been considered. It is our understanding based on information issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services and other public sources that the operator of Bayonne has:

  • Decreased in-patient access and services by 40-48% from 2008-2010 for patients insured by one insurer by terminating its insurance contracts with that entity;
  • Decreased out-patient access and services by 68-74% from 2008-2010 for patients insured by one insurer 2008-2010 by terminating its insurance contracts with that entity;
  • Decreased total hospital admissions by 21% over 2008 and 2009 with strong evidence that this reduction has increased in 2010 and 2011;
  • Increased daily rates to more than double that of the state average (from $13,000 to $29,000);
  • Delivered services whose quality has suffered due to staffing cuts and other cost cutting measures notwithstanding the efforts of BMC employees to provide safe and effective care for patients (for example, according to the 2010 NJ Hospital Performance Report, BMC is last in the State in “Surgical Care Improvement,” and in the bottom 10% of NJ hospitals in “Pneumonia Care.”);
  • Shifted the costs of indigent care (uninsured and low income) to other local hospitals such as Jersey City Medical Center, Meadowlands Hospital, and Christ Hospital by decreasing Indigent and Charity Care admissions by 27% in 2008 and 2009;
  • Complied unevenly, at best, with its current Certification of Need requirements; and
  • Created a hostile work environment that has included the lock-out of all employees in the summer of 2009.

Indeed, pursuant to a recent national survey (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) only 38% of Bayonne patients stated that they would “definitely recommend” the Hospital to others.

On the foregoing track record, we believe that the owners of Bayonne Medical Center do not deserve and have not “earned” the right to operate a second New Jersey hospital.

This is a local decision that will have statewide impact. The prospective purchaser of Hoboken University Medical Center must hold a regional perspective, be willing to coordinate with other neighboring hospitals in Hudson County, and adopt policies and practices that expand access, reduce costs, and keep the hospital accountable to the community. The operators of Bayonne do not meet this standard and we urge the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority to actively seek operators who have these goals in mind.

Petition Letter

“Stop the sale of Hoboken’s hospital to a for-profit with a questionable track record!”

Greetings,

The sale of Hoboken’s hospital is underway, and the universe of stakeholders–patients, MDs, nurses, employees, payers, unions, nearby hospitals, and local businesses–are asking for the support and influence of the Governor’s office and the Department of Health and Senior Services to reject Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority’s CON application to sell Hoboken UMC to a group of investors currently operating Bayonne Medical Center. We are asking for this intervention in this decision because we believe the propose sale is “likely to result in the deteriation in the quality, availability or accessability of health services” in Hoboken and other Hudson County communitties. Furthermore, we question whether the selection process was fair, unbiased, and transparent in accordance with principles that should govern the sale of a public hospital. residents are not adversley impacted and the transaction preserves the quality, affordability and access to health care services.

This decision will impact the citizens and tax payers in Hoboken and the surrounding communities that rely on HUMC for their health care, jobs and commerce. The decision will have a huge impact on the Hudson County’s health system and also have a sizable impact on NJ’s state budget given the explosive incremental cost associated with the Bayonne business model.

The stakes are high and the time to intervene is now. Please support us on this important matter.

Renee Steinhagen
Executive Director
NJ Appleseed

Hoboken NJ

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