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CHA, Jersey City plan to mix acute, ambulatory care at Christ Hospital

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With bids taking shape for Christ Hospital, one potential owner is banking on a history of optimizing space to make its case.

Community Healthcare Associates LLC and LibertyHealth System, parent company of Jersey City Medical Center, is one of the partnerships awaiting Thursday's deadline for potential purchasers of the Jersey City hospital, which is in bankruptcy.

Jeffrey Moll, co-founder and managing partner of CHA, said projects like developing Christ Hospital into an efficient, fiscally stable hospital is "what we do," citing the organization's revamping of the former Barnert Hospital, in Paterson, into a medical mall, and the current development of shuttered Kessler Memorial Hospital, in Hammonton, into an ambulatory surgical and acute care center.

"We will purchase the property, including the building in which the hospital is, and we will be the landlord and Jersey City Medical Center will be the tenant," Moll said, describing the planned bid. "In the space of the hospital, they will run a full-service acute-care hospital — obviously very similar to Christ Hospital and what they're doing — and they will bring their talents and expertise developed as a nonprofit."

Moll said Jersey City will get roughly six months after moving into Christ Hospital to determine the amount of space in the main building required to operate the hospital, and CHA will then fill the rest of the building and several outbuildings with complementary health care services, such as a nursing home.

Jersey City Medical Center will "figure out what makes the most sense," Moll said. "There's a lot of property — it's a 15-acre site — there are a lot of outbuildings on the site, and that's where I think CHA will primarily focus."

Moll said he believes the ownership transition for Christ Hospital would be smoothest to the CHA/LibertyHealth partnership because they plan to keep the hospital nonprofit. Other potential bidders Hudson Holdco LLC and MHA would likely operate the facility as a for-profit hospital. Neither Hudson Holdco nor MHA responded to requests for comment.

Moll would not disclose the amount the partnership is bidding for the hospital, but before Christ Hospital filed for bankruptcy, the group offered to purchase the hospital for $104 million.

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