The hospital’s fate may now lie in the hands of the State

The hospital’s public hearing at Our Lady of Grace Church last night brought out all segments of Hoboken, mostly speaking in one shape or form to keep the 150 year institution open.

The hearing a necessary ingredient before the State may consider issuing a certificate of need will determine the approval for a sale to Bayonne’s Holdco.

Public hearing on the potential hospital sale last night included many hospital professionals both local and regional.  Most spoke strongly in favor of approving the sale to Bayonne’s Holdco.

Mayor Zimmer again repeated her insistence the clock has run out on any additional negotiations and the offer of $92 million is the best solution to keep the doors open.  She’s repeatedly said in recent weeks, should the sale not be approved, the hospital will close.

Dozens of members of the public spoke in an audience of about 200 people expressing various perspectives on the hospital sale, but most spoke in favor of the sale, including many physicians. One who is also a Hoboken resident thanked the taxpayers of Hoboken for answering the call back in 2007 when the hospital was in danger of closing.

Freeholder Anthony Romano made an impassioned plea to consider the jobs of the employees of the hospital in any sale and received loud support from the nurse’s unions and their supporters.

On balance, the citizenry of Hoboken was well represented.  On the whole it became clear the opposition to the sale was limited and perhaps dispirited.  There was not any attempt to line up speakers against the sale.  A competitor stood up and referenced their willingness to make a bid. Totaling those figures, it was oddly less than the current one.  Later MSV was told by various independent observers, the bid lacked adequate financing.

That Connecticut based firm was rumored to have been working with local groups and elected officials to undermine the hospital sale over recent months and believed behind a local telephone push poll.

In the end, the public comments go to the State for their final review in a process to determine whether the doors of what many call by its original name St. Mary’s, remains open.

In attendance many notables. Speaking on behalf of the sale included City Council President Ravi Bhalla and Councilwoman Jen Giattino.  Also in attendance were council members Councilwoman Terry Castellano who elected not to speak when called, Councilman Mike Russo, Councilwoman Beth Mason, Assemblyman Ruben Ramo and former City Councilman Mike Lenz.

Talking Ed Note:  This is it.  Most people seemed resigned to the fact the hospital has reached the end of life support after suffering heavy losses since 2007.  Stemming the tide of red ink has been overcome with State aid in consecutive years, an unusual occurrence.

Hoboken is fortunate an option remains.  The hospital is barely making it to the finish line.
Now the State will make the decision and final call on its future.

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