Jersey City Medical Center Remains Committed To Purchasing Christ Hospital

Jersey City Medical Center has officially made an offer to purchase cash-strapped Christ Hospital despite previous reluctance on the part of Christ Hospital’s CEO Peter Kelly to sell to the group. At the time, Kelly cited JCMC’s $100 million debt and questioned the feasibility of the deal. Instead, Kelly had insisted the hospital would be sold to California-based for-profit healthcare company Prime HealthCare Services, which he called the “best” option on the table.

But JCMC’s President and CEO Joseph Scott, who has partnered with Community Healthcare Associates, has put down an offer of $104,350,000, and feels confident that in light of growing concern in the community over Prime HealthCare Services and an apparent delay in the sale Kelly will re-consider.

“It looks like the Prime [HealthCare Services] deal is taking longer than anticipated,” said Scott. “From [Kelly’s] perspective I’d think he’d want to make sure they save the hospital. He’ll have to look at other alternatives.”

Paul Hebert, a spokesman for Christ Hospital, acknowledged the hospital has received the offer and said they are in the process of reviewing it.

When news first broke that nonprofit Christ Hospital would close unless a suitable buyer could be found, the Jersey City medical community, joined by residents and politicians, urged the hospital seek out a buyer that would keep the hospital operating with the same nonprofit mission. Which is why Kelly had to defend the hospital’s proposed sale to Prime HealthCare Services, a group being investigated by the Federal government for questionable Medicare billing practices.

“Having received several offers over the past year, Christ Hospital is moving forward with the Asset Purchase Agreement by Prime Healthcare Services — which we believe is in the best interests of the hospital and the community we serve,” Hebert said in a statement at the time.

JCMC has also made public a guarantee of four “tenants” the group will adhere to for Christ Hospital, including: “to continue operating Christ as a non-profit acute care community hospital for a period of not less than 30 years; to preserve and create jobs while maintaining the existing unions; to continue to build a positive working relationship with the medical staff; and to expand Christ’s role as a healthcare leader and educator in Jersey City, Hudson County and New Jersey.”

JCMC also promised “the transparent sale of Christ Hospital to protect the community and to guarantee its continued operation as a non-profit entity We believe the public needs to be presented with all the viable information on offers for the hospital and to assume a role in determining what is best for the future healthcare needs of the community.”

That’s good news for the group Save Christ Hospital and residents concerned over the future of Jersey City’s affordable healthcare.

Matt Hunger

is a former staff writer for the Jersey City Independent.