The ownership struggle for Christ Hospital in Jersey City is over. On Friday, the sale of the financially troubled hospital was finalized, adding to for-profit operators Hudson Holdco LLC's portfolio of properties.
After California-based Prime Healthcare pulled out of negotiations at the beginning of the year, Christ Hospital filed for bankruptcy. Hudson Holdco and a group formed by Jersey City Medical Center and Community Healthcare Associates bid on the hospital, and in late March, a bankruptcy judge awarded it to Holdco.
In a statement, Holdco spokesman Spencer Baretz said the company is pleased the sale is complete.
"Our vision for Christ Hospital's continuation as a full-service facility — and to include the hospital in our plan to create an integrated health care system for the county — will be tremendously beneficial for the residents of Jersey City and the surrounding communities in Hudson County," Baretz said.
The ownership change was moved forward in early July after Hudson County Superior Court judge Hector Velazquez approved the sale. Conditions for the sale, set forth in the certificate of need transfer approved by the Department of Health and Senior Services, include operating the facility as an acute-care hospital for at least seven more years, rehiring 90 percent of the current employees and any service changes would need to be approved by the department.
"We are pleased to see the sale of our hospital coming to a closing point, and that health care services to our community will be maintained," said Nicole Mankowski, president of Health Professionals and Allied Employees Local 5186, a union representing 400 employees at Christ Hospital.
Mankowski added in her statement that she was disappointed Velazquez did not codify a prominent role for a coalition of community members called "Save Christ Hospital" with the new ownership group.
"Health care in Hudson County is at a critical point, and we should not be deciding what services will be offered or eliminated to our communities without the voices of the community, our elected officials and our health professionals," Mankowski said.
HPAE was vocal in opposing the sale of the hospital to Prime Healthcare, and eventually backed Holdco, which operates another hospital staffed by HPAE members.
Holdco now owns three Hudson County hospitals: Christ Hospital, Bayonne Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center. The state also is requiring, through the certificate of need, the three hospitals to update monthly the contract status with private insurance companies.