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Health commissioner approves Saint Clare's sale to Prime

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New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd has approved the sale of Saint Clare's Health System to Prime Healthcare Services Inc., according to two letters sent Monday from the Department of Health to the system.

The letters to Saint Clare’s CEO and President Leslie Hirsch approve the transfer of ownership of Saint Clare’s Hospital Denville and Saint Clare’s Hospital Dover, along with several other facilities, to the for-profit Prime, which is based in California.

The deal still requires the approval of the state attorney general and a judge before it can be finalized, according to Saint Clare's.

Prime agrees to continue operating both the 306-bed Denville hospital and the 60-bed Dover hospital as acute care facilities, according to the letters.

RELATED: Despite challenges, Prime exec still has big plans for New Jersey

“I agree that the proposed transfer of ownership, as opposed to the potential reduction of services or closure of St. Clare’s … will preserve appropriate access to health care services for the community, including the medically indigent and medically underserved population,” O’Dowd said in her letters.

The sale also includes Saint Clare’s Hospital Boonton as well as an imaging center in Parsippany, an ambulatory care facility in Sussex, the Visiting Nurse Association of Saint Clare’s and two MRI facilities, the letters said. The system would be run by an entity known as Prime Healthcare Services – Saint Clare’s LLC, or Prime Saint Clare’s.

“The objective of this transfer of ownership is to reshape the health care delivery system at the existing St. Clare’s … and provide more efficient and effective services, without causing any disruption in the continuity of care for its patients,” the letters said.

The acquisition cost of Saint Clare’s Denville was listed at $74.73 million, while the cost of Saint Clare’s Dover was listed at $33.24 million in O’Dowd’s letters. The prices covered the other facilities that were part of the transaction, as well.

The letters also noted that Prime Saint Clare’s agrees to hire “substantially all” of the hospitals’ employees. A published report did indicate the transition to for-profit status means the company would not keep on the employees of the health system’s foundation, however.

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