Hudson County officials: Delay in hospital sale could hurt local health care

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Hudson County leaders are putting the heat on a health care company that they say is obstructing the sale of two hospitals in the county.

Alaris Health owns the land on which both Christ Hospital in Jersey City and Hoboken University Medical Center sit. The hospitals are currently owned by Care Point. The lawmakers accused Alaris of being unreasonable in negotiations to sell those hospitals to RWJ Barnabas.

“We need our hospitals open,” says state Sen. Sandra Cunningham.

Cunningham was joined by other Hudson County leaders, including Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla speaking out about what they say is an imminent threat to local health care.

“Hoboken cannot function without University Medical Center,” Bhalla says. “And it’s not just Hoboken, it’s the entire region.”

The officials say that Alaris is demanding an unreasonable amount of money – which is delaying the sale. They say that this is jeopardizing health care should the hospitals be forced to close. A third Care Point facility - Bayonne Medical Center - is not part of the deal. But leaders there are also worried because the hospital also operates on land owned by Alaris.

The hospitals treat about 100,000 patients per year and employ 4,000 people.

“We couldn't be stronger in a collective voice asking for Alaris to do the right thing, which is, find a resolution with Care Point and Barnabas. It seems that they are the holdout,” Fulop says.

State legislators from Hudson County said Monday that they are working to change laws giving municipalities more power over at-risk hospitals.

A spokesperson for RWJ Barnabas says in a statement, "Given the reportedly precarious financial position of some these hospitals, our goal continues to be a rapid resolution..."

Alaris Health did not respond to requests for comment.

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