Prime Healthcare, Acknowledging Public Concern, Withdraws Bid For Christ Hospital

Mark another one down for community resistance: after very loud and very public outcry from concerned residents, local politicians, and church and community groups over the proposed sale of Christ Hospital to California-based health facility chain Prime Healthcare Services, it looks like the hospital will in fact remain in non-profit hands after all.

The decision comes in a joint statement from both Christ Hospital and Prime Health which expressed disappointment at the failed bid, citing public pressure as the reason for the sale’s collapse.

“[Prime] had hoped to play a key role in stabilizing the financial future of healthcare in Hudson County by acquiring Christ Hospital and investing tens of millions of dollars to upgrade its services,” said Lex Reddy, President and Chief Executive Officer, Prime Healthcare Services, in a statement.

“However, out of respect for the wishes of those in the Hudson County community that Christ Hospital remains as a not-for-profit hospital, we respectfully withdraw our bid to purchase the hospital.”

Peter A. Kelly, President and CEO, Christ Hospital, added he “regrets” the withdrawal, noting “Prime made a substantial investment of money and professional resources during negotiations to help keep the hospital solvent during a difficult financial time.”

“We collectively owe Prime a debt of gratitude for the resources they have given Christ Hospital in recent months, allowing us to meet our financial obligations and provide essential medical services to the community,” added Kelly in the statement. “Christ Hospital must now work through very difficult financial challenges, and it remains to be seen if there is another viable way forward.”

Coincidentally, a “potential viable way forward” may have recently presented itself when non-profit health facility Jersey City Medical Center put in a substantial bid to pick up Christ Hospital last week.

The news was welcomed by Save Christ Hospital, a grassroots organization focused on the preservation of community-based health care in Hudson County, which released a statement applauding the decision.

“This is a great example of what the community can do working together,” said Michael Yun, President of Central Avenue Special Improvement District, in the statement.

The group, which first called attention to the problems of a for-profit organization taking over the non-profit facility, calls Prime’s withdrawal as an “opportunity to get a better deal for the hospital and the people of Hudson County.”

“The community raised issues, and the Attorney General’s office made clear that there would be rigorous scrutiny of the transaction. It looks like the Christ Hospital Board was responsive and reconsidered whether this deal was beneficial to the residents of Hudson County,” added Renee Steinhagen, Executive Director of NJ Appleseed Public Interest Law Center.

The group says they remain committed to closely following the hospital’s sale.

Matt Hunger

is a former staff writer for the Jersey City Independent.