The death rattle is becoming audibly raspier and it’s only a matter of time now. Can you hear it in the distance not far off? Hoboken’s albatross and largest employer, The Hoboken University Medical Center, formerly St. Mary’s Hospital put forth or rather spit out its “official” financial statement and along with it, some ominous tones coming out of City Hall. The problem: we’re actually not in position to guarantee existing financial problems for the hospital, let alone future ones.
Seems like only yesterday when we saw the splashy promotional piece in the Hudson Reporter for the hospital’s new emergency wing and all the pretty pictures with it. It looked impressive. So much so, we thought it would be good to go visit and take some pictures. But who visits an emergency room for fun?
Obviously there’s one clear solution here. Declare victory and announce the hospital is now free. Who can argue with free? Free is all the rage these days. What’s the problem in that? You just have to order the hospital to charge x for services and y for hospital beds and z for doctors and nurses. We don’t need two pay scales anyway. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of chatter about this over the last few months. Well it didn’t work for Nixon and his price controls (consult your history books kids) and it won’t work now.
Okay, everyone line up there behind the ’74 Delta 88 and the illegal aliens. (Yes they will be eligible, Obama knows, expects it and count on the ACLU to make sure their constitutionally personage “rights” are protected). By the way, how’s your Spanish? Mine’s not bad from high school and soccer in Central Park. May be able to jump a couple of spots in line that way. When Washington tells us to queue up, it’ll only be a matter of where. It just may not be here.
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City Hall press release/links follow.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer Responds to Release of Hoboken University Medical Center 2008 Audited Financial Statements
The Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) released its Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008. The Financial Statements make clear that the hospital continues to face serious financial difficulties. The Hospital incurred a loss from operations in 2008 in the amount of $22.3 million, leaving it with net assets at the end of 2008 of $13,435,124. This is down from net assets of $35,138,364 at the end of 2007.For 147 years HUMC, formerly known as Saint Mary Hospital, has been the anchor for health care in Hoboken, as well as surrounding communities. It is an essential hospital for access to care for Hoboken’s diverse population of 40,000 residents including many seniors, as well as the health care safety-net for many young children, pregnant women, and people living with HIV/AIDS. The recently opened emergency room provides state of the art emergency services for Hoboken residents and surrounding communities. It also provides a facility to increase admissions to the hospital, a key to the hospital’s long-term financial viability.
As part of the original acquisition, Hoboken has guaranteed $52 million of the Hospital’s debt. Given our own fiscal problems, we are not in a financial position to guarantee additional debt or to provide operating subsidies. But within those limitations, I am fully committed to doing everything within my power to help the Hospital Board find a way to navigate through these difficult times.
The Hospital has recently applied to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services for a critical Health Care Stabilization Grant. I coordinated with State Senator Brian Stack and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, Jr., for their strong letters in support of the application. I also personally spoke to Commissioner Heather Howard to express my highest level of support for the application on behalf of the City of Hoboken. HUMC is well positioned to receive this grant which will greatly assist the hospital with its short term needs.
I want to thank my City Council colleagues for their quick action last Wednesday in approving my appointment of Tejal Desai to the Hospital Board. Her strong financial background will be of significant help as we move forward to face the extremely difficult challenges ahead.
You can also click on the attached PDF’s for more information.