Second hearing on hospital sale Tuesday

SECAUCUS – The state Attorney General and the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) will hold a public hearing Tuesday on the impending sale of the Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center. The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at Secaucus High School, 11 Millridge Road.
Area residents, community groups, and hospital employees are invited to attend the hearing to ask any questions they have regarding the hospital sale.
The hospital’s current owner, LibertyHealth System, has an offer to sell Meadowlands to MHA, LLC, a Newark-based group of private investors. MHA, which has made verbal promises to keep Meadowlands Hospital an acute care facility for at least seven years, has said the facility loses $700,000 a month and is in danger of closing if MHA doesn’t take over and make it profitable.
The state Attorney General and DHSS must approve the sale, reported to be about $16 million.
Last week, the hospital’s largest employee union – Health Professionals and Allied Employees, which represents 400 Meadowlands workers – announced that it has reached a tentative bargaining agreement with MHA. Members of the union are scheduled to vote on the tentative agreement this Wednesday.
Details of the agreement have not been released, and will not be made public until after the ratification vote.
Despite this tentative agreement, however, health advocates and employees are still requesting certain conditions be met as a condition of the sale.
Among the conditions they want met are that MHA maintain the hospital and all of its current services for 10 years; MHA retain the current workforce and honor their contract and workplace rights; DHSS monitor quality of care; and that the state require fiscal transparency and monitor the use of any public money MHA receives.
Tuesday’s public hearing is the second one of its kind to be held within the past two months. The New Jersey State Health Planning Board held a separate public hearing in August. – E. Assata Wright

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