Update: CHA Managing Partner Denies Christ Hospital’s Board Chairman’s Claim That Funds For Bid Not Available

“Shocked” and “offended,” William Colgan, the managing partner of Community Healthcare Associates, emphatically denied a charge by Christ Hospital’s Board Chairman Geoff Curtiss that CHA was unprepared to follow through with their bid.

Colgan says CHA contacted Christ Hospital immediately after the deal with Prime had “fallen apart, which was literally a couple days ago,” he said. “We met with their senior management team and, on the contrary, we substantiated to them that we were prepared to go forward.”

Curtiss had said that when the hospital met with CHA he was unconvinced they truly had the money available to purchase the hospital. “It was pretty clear,” said Curtiss, “the money wasn’t available to do all that they said they would do.”

But Colgan calls Curtiss’s claim “the furthest thing from the truth.” The group’s efforts to continue to purchase the hospital in bankruptcy court will demonstrate their intentions, he continued. That, however, will cost Colgan’s company.

“They’ve put the stake in the ground that that’s the path they chose,” he said. “A tremendous amount of value is pulled out of an institution when they file for bankruptcy. Historically I don’t think you’ll see less than $6 million in lost in the last four to five bankruptcies. The decision was criminal.”

“They absolute do not need to go through bankruptcy proceeding, they had financial needs and we told them we were prepared to meet their financial needs,” he said of a conversation that took place “on two days notice.”

CHA, which owns two hospitals, had a “dialogue with [Christ Hospital’s] secured lenders” to reassure them of their financial situation.

Peter Kelly, Christ Hospital’s CEO, declined comment on Colgan’s version of the story and Curtiss did not return a call from JCI.

Following the announcement, Mayor Jerramiah Healy weighed in to support the CHA and Jersey City Medical Center’s bid for the hospital.

“It was announced this week that Prime Healthcare has withdrawn its offer to purchase Christ Hospital. It’s fortunate that the Jersey City Medical Center under the leadership of Joe Scott is not only interested in acquiring Christ Hospital and keeping it open as a non-profit to serve the citizens of Jersey City, but has also made a substantial preliminary offer in order to accomplish that acquisition. We hope the Board and Executive Director of Christ Hospital give this proposal a full and fair consideration as we believe this will inure to the benefit of all the citizens of Jersey City and Hudson County.”

Matt Hunger

is a former staff writer for the Jersey City Independent.