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News Media

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Owners of Bayonne Medical Center spent $350K on lobbyists and political campaigns in past 2 years, records show

The ownership group of Bayonne Medical Center may be as well versed in the art of Trenton politics as it is in medicine.

Facing legislative calls for increased oversight of for-profit hospitals as it pursues a controversial deal at Hoboken University Medical Center, the group has spent more than $350,000 in the past two years on political campaigns and high-powered lobbyists to make their case at the Statehouse, records show.

The Bayonne hospital paid Rosemont Associates, a lobbying firm that employs former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) to help convince the chairmen of the state legislative budget committees to support an $11 million earmark to ease the sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center, records show.

N.J. lawmakers seek to strengthen law requiring attorney general to oversee transfer of non-profit hospitals

Two key Democratic lawmakers are planning to strengthen a law that requires the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to oversee the transfer of non-profit hospitals.

The move comes after the proposed sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center escaped the stringent review by successfully arguing that its status as a city-run hospital exempts it from the Community Healthcare Assets Protection Act, or CHOPA.

Under the law, the attorney general’s reviews all aspects of the sale of non-profit hospital, including whether the seller is getting fair market value, ensuring conflicts of interest are disclosed, the bidding process is fair and a host of items designed to protect the public. A superior court judge must also give their final opinion on the sale.

One of the major criticisms of the Hoboken sale has been the lack of transparency. Among other items, the public has yet to see the applications of the other bidders beside the successful one — the ownership group of the Bayonne Medical Center. Council members were just provided the financial statements of the hospital Wednesday.

CEO of Jersey City Medical Center is willing to buy troubled Hoboken hospital if bankruptcy negotiations collapse

The CEO of the Jersey City Medical Center has reached out to state and local officials to let them know he is still willing to buy the Hoboken University Medical Center if bankruptcy settlement negotiations falter and the proposed sale collapses.

Joe Scott, CEO of Jersey City Medical Center, said he contacted Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and the state Department of Health and Senior Services Thursday morning just hours after Hoboken City Council rejected a last-minute effort to salvage negotiations.

Minutes after the vote, Zimmer said the oldest hospital in the state would close and roughly 1,300 people would lose their jobs.

"I let them know we stand ready to do whatever it takes to ensure there is a organized transition with the hospital if this deal falls apart,'' Scott said. "We have a partner willing to buy the hospital and placed a bid…We were going to lease space from them.''

Hoboken University Hospital creditors want more than $10M to allow for its sale

Creditors are seeking more than $10 million from Hoboken University Hospital as a part of a broad bankruptcy settlement that would allow for the sale of the cash-strapped facility, according to sources with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations. 

However, the city is reluctant to pick up the extra costs, inching the hospital closer to shutting it doors, according to sources who asked for anonymity because they did not want to disrupt ongoing negotiations.   

Officials with the creditors committee, the city and its hospital held a seven-hour negotiating session Monday in hopes of settling the bankruptcy dispute before a pivotal hearing on Thursday, according to sources.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg requests investigation of fraud allegations against Hoboken University Hospital

A state senator has asked the U.S. Attorney and the state Attorney General to investigate allegations of fraud raised by the former attorney of Hoboken University Hospital before the state decides whether its pending sale can move forward.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) sent letters to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and state Attorney Paula Dow asking them to probe charges by Donald Scarinci, who resigned as the hospital’s attorney two weeks before it filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 1.

In court papers, Scarinci said he quit because the city-backed authority created to oversee the hospital withheld millions in contractual payments to help make it appear it was in duress and push it into bankruptcy. The ultimate goal, he said, was to ensure an investment group that owns the Bayonne Medical Center gets to purchase the hospital. The group wants to buy the hospital for $65 million and convert it to a private facility.

Television Commercial About The National Debt That Is Being Banned By Major Networks

A new television ad about the U.S. national debt produced by Citizens Against Government Waste has been deemed “too controversial” by major networks including ABC, A&E and The History Channel and will not be shown on those channels. The commercial is a homage to a 1986 ad that was entitled “The Deficit Trials” that was also banned by the major networks.  Apparently telling the truth about the national debt is a little too “hot” for the major networks to handle.  But perhaps it is time to tell the American people the truth.  In 1986, the U.S. national debt was around 2 trillion dollars.  Today, it is rapidly approaching 14 trillion dollars. The American Dream is being ripped apart right in front of our eyes, but apparently some of the major networks don’t want the American people to really understand what is going on.

Settlement in N.J. sergeant selection process case draws mixed emotions from officers

In January 2010, the Department of Justice sued the state and New Jersey Civil Service Commission, alleging the sergeants exam discriminates against black and Hispanic officers and arguing the tests weren’t necessary to prove candidates could do the job.

The lawsuit cited figures from 2000 to 2008, when 89 percent of white candidates passed the exam, compared with 77 percent of Hispanic officers and 73 percent of African-Americans. Black and Hispanic officers who passed received lower scores and were less likely to be promoted.

Under the proposed settlement, the exam will be revised and New Jersey will provide $1 million in back pay to officers deemed harmed by the promotion process.

Hoboken University Hospital chief executive received $600K severance package weeks before bankruptcy filing

Less than three weeks before the operator of the city-owned Hoboken University Hospital filed for bankruptcy — putting millions of dollars in taxpayer money and union pension funds at risk — the hospital’s chief executive received a six-figure payout, records show.

Spiros Hatiras, 46, stepped down as chief executive on July 16 after two years on the job with a severance package that includes:

  • $600,000 in compensation,
  • full medical benefits for a year,
  • and stipulated that the hospital authority will pay all of Hatiras’s legal expenses stemming from the agreement.

Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center skipped tests, did not ensure enough nurses were on duty, report says

Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center skipped pre-admission tests for several patients undergoing anesthesia, failed to provide pediatric outpatient services for low-income families, and did not ensure enough nurses were on duty, according to a report released Tuesday by the state Department of Health and Senior Services.

The state inspected the Secaucus hospital last month after an employee union complained about how the facility has been run and "threats to patient and worker safety" since a for-profit company bought it last year.

United States of America Long-Term Rating Lowered To 'AA+' On Political Risks And Rising Debt Burden, Outlook Negative

Standard & Poor’s announced Friday night that it has downgraded the United States credit rating for the first time, dealing a huge symbolic blow to the world’s economic superpower in what was a sharply worded critique of the American political system.

Lowering the nation’s rating one-notch below AAA, the credit rating company said “political brinkmanship” in the debate over the debt had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.” It said the bi-partisan agreement reached this week to find $2.1 trillion in budget savings “fell short” of what was necessary to tame the nation’s debt over time and predicted that leaders would have no luck achieving more savings later on.

The decision came after a day of furious back-and-forth between the Obama administration and S&P. Government officials fought back hard, arguing that S&P made a flawed analysis of the potential for political agreement and had mathematical errors in its initial analysis, which was submitted to the Treasury earlier in the day. The analysis overstated the U.S. deficit over 10 years by $2 trillion.