Here’s the bottom line. It’s tight. They are hopeful on State aid next month. They will implement audit findings, several impacting the financials sooner than later. Plans are to cut spending by a million dollars a month, equivalent to 10% overall and the amount of the current deficit.
Hospital administrators came over to some Hoboken citizens during a spontaneous post meeting discussion. They wanted the exchange and a very good impromptu Q&A. They encouraged the public’s attendance to their monthly meeting. This was a positive sign. As a result, we’ll retract the Scarface bad guy reference. There’s another reason and we’ll explain more soon.
Lots of questions revolving around the bonds and specifically what is the holder and any insurance. The bondholder was said to be FSA. Questions on wraparound insurance were not clear. The Administration offered to have a bond expert available to answer these questions and also their attorney agreed to explain the two operating bond accounts and their amounts. One capital account we believe is $9MM or thereabouts. The other, a recovery account will be explained after the holiday. City Hall does have all the documentation on the bonds.
There is some cause for optimism. One thing arose here as in the City Council meeting: this concept of State grants for hospitals and how its disbursed among several possible candidates. The CEO Spiros Hatiras speaks of this as an obligation, something the State owes. The hospital administration views this like Federal medicare payments. We’re not so sure this is actually the best designation since the State directs these monies on a rotating basis. With so many hospitals crying for help, how does the State view Hoboken versus Jersey City or Newark, etc.? One would guess less sympathetically as we are a “rich” community. We don’t have long to find out.
Might we strongly suggest, citizens contact Jon Corzine’s office and ask that State assistance be provided to our hospital. It takes a few minutes of your time: (609) 292-6000. Ask to speak to the Governor’s aide.
There was some issue around obtaining financial records with manual deletions. Councilwoman Beth Mason wanted to find out if this could be available without cost to the city. The Hospital Administration stated the cost for doing so is $3,000. Is this fair and reasonable considering Hoboken’s existing bond obligations? The Councilwoman did not agree. Questions led to some conflict and more questions followed by a request to wrap up the questions. Later Councilman David Mello asked some questions around the recent upgrades to the emergency room. He also spoke on behalf of his colleague Beth Mason, suggesting the Administration allow her to ask any additional questions she had. They agreed.
We’ll have more in a short window. Jimmy the K said he feels better. For the moment Da Horsey will agree.
Photo: CEO Spiros Hatiras