SAVE CHRIST HOSPITAL CALLS ON CHRIST HOSPITAL BOARD
TO INCLUDE THE COMMUNITY IN REORGANIZATION PLANS
Jersey City, NJ, February 7, 2012 - The community coalition to Save Christ Hospital held a press conference today on the sidewalk outside the hospital. The group outlined goals for the hospital's reorganization, and called upon the hospital's Board of Trustees to make community participation a significant part of Christ Hospital's future.
Save Christ Hospital mobilized community groups and neighborhood residents, and focused attention on the deal to sell Christ Hospital to Prime Healthcare Services, a California for-profit company under investigation. That deal proved to be a bad deal for patients, the community, and hospital staff, and it collapsed under the scrutiny of state government and community leaders.
After having pursued this deal without giving consideration to other options, Christ Hospital's Board of Trustees has chosen to reorganize through the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy is a big step. But it does not change the major issues facing the hospital and the community it serves.
Save Christ Hospital and the community which supports and depends on the hospital continues to call for:
+ Meaningful community participation in planning the hospital's future;
+ An open bidding process; and
+ Sale conditions which protect health care outcomes and community assets.
The Christ Hospital Board President, Rev. Geoff Curtiss, and CEO Peter Kelly have previously committed to meet with Save Christ Hospital, but have not scheduled that meeting. Following the press conference, Save Christ Hospital community members will deliver a letter to Board again seeking to work cooperatively with the Board in its reorganization plans.
Principal decision-making still rests in the Board‟s hands. Save Christ Hospital will work with the Board, state regulators, our elected officials, and potential buyers to achieve an outcome that is truly in the public interest.
Paul Bellan-Boyer, Save Christ Hospital:
“It is time for the serious work of evaluating, envisioning, and rebuilding Christ Hospital for the future. One of the major problems with the questionable Prime deal was the failure to deal openly with the community and with other potential buyers. It became apparent that the single-minded pursuit of Prime prevented the timely emergence of other, potentially better, offers. While Mr. Kelly continues to try and spin away from the deal he championed, the community voice has been consistent in calling for an open process with substantive public participation.”
Jim Carroll, Ward D Civic Association:
“This community loves Christ Hospital and wants to support its future. But we can't do that if we're locked out. Community participation built Christ Hospital, and it can help rebuild Christ Hospital.”
Jeanne Otersen, Director, Health Professionals and Allied Employees:
“Christ Hospital CEO Peter Kelly failed to allow other bids, wasting time and now bringing our hospital to bankruptcy. Christ Hospital focused on pursuing this poorly-developed deal with Prime Healthcare System – demanding fast-track review and secrecy – while other bids might have been better and therefore successful.
“However, Christ Hospital has now declared bankruptcy. Though we would not have chosen this path for the hospital, bankruptcy court can provide protection for our hospital and its services during the next period of time, and also provide the structure and oversight that was clearly missing at the Christ Hospital management offices. Christ Hospital Board members also have an opportunity to get it right this time – to choose a bidder and financing that puts patients and community first.”
Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, Executive Director, NJ Citizen Action:
“There has been an outpouring of support from citizens of Jersey City for Christ Hospital. New Jersey Citizen Action went door to door in this community to ask for support in saving Christ Hospital. The response was stunning; over 5000 people signed petition cards supporting our principals of a open and transparent process with community input for the future of Christ Hospital. The people of Jersey City still need to know that this hospital, its services, and its health care providers will always be here to serve this community.”
Renee Steinhagen, Executive Director, NJ Appleseed Public Interest Law Center:
“A review of documents filed with the State revealed that the Board did not properly vet the record of Prime's operations in California, and did not consider the impact that the sale would have on Hudson County. Had the Prime sale gone through, Hudson County residents would have been faced with yet another hospital that is primarily concerned with maximizing profits. Even in bankruptcy, Christ Hospital's Board should consider whether a sale is in the best interest of Jersey City‟s residents. If the Board fails to do that, it remains the obligation of New Jersey‟s Attorney General and Commissioner of Health to refuse to approve the 'new' sale.”
Joel Torres, Neighborhood resident:
“I was born in Christ Hospital twenty-eight years ago and have lived in Jersey City my whole life. For 140 years, Christ Hospital has opened its doors to help people in need, and has been especially important to under-served populations. We ask the hospital‟s Board to keep the doors open to the community in the reorganization process.”
Paulette Eberle, Vice-President, Next Step:
“It's essential that there is an open and transparent process with continued community input for any possible sale to insure that this hospital remains the integral part of the community that is has always been.”