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Hospital CEO appears to be on his way out in surprise move

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Thomas Considine
Thomas Considine - (TIM LARSEN/GOVERNOR'S OFFICE)

As unconfirmed reports of the departure of Thomas Considine as chief executive of the for-profit Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center spread through the state's health care community Friday, the state Health Department confirmed that it is “aware of a potential change in leadership of the hospital.”

Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner said it “remains committed to working with the hospital to ensure continued access to quality healthcare.”

A source close to the hospital told NJBIZ that rumors of Considine’s department began circulating Wednesday. The source had heard that Considine had “too many conflicts” with Richard Lipsky, one of the owners of the hospital and the chairman of its board.

Considine, a former state commissioner of banking and insurance, just took the top job at the Secaucus hospital on May 1, while voicing an upbeat vision for the financially ailing Meadowlands, which has clashed repeatedly with its union. Last month Considine announced about 100 employees would be laid off to right-size the staff in light of a decline in daily patient volume to between 30 and 40. But he also said the hospital would be profitable this year.

Considine told NJBIZ in early July that the hospital would have an operating margin of at least 2 percent this year, and that the margin would continue to improve over the next four years.

In July the state health department made public a heavily redacted report on the finances of Meadowlands by consultant Executive Resources.

The first section of the report, dated Aug. 17, 2013, cited major internal financial issues at Meadowlands, including “cash flow challenges, no formal budgeting process and untimely financial statement audits.” The report said that, since 2010, the hospital “has been facing multiple financial problems which have created significant cash flow challenges, exacerbating difficulties in meeting day to day financial commitments.”

But a second section of the report, dated March 5, 2014, estimated that the hospital will generate a surplus, or operating margin, of 2 percent for 2014, which the consultant said exceeds the 1 percent margin required by the state Department of Health.

At the time, the state health department said it was aware of the hospital’s financial problems and that the hospital’s new leadership was working to improve its financial condition.

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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