Friday, February 25, 2011

HUMC Meeting Recap from 2-23-2011

Wednesday night  February 23, 2011, the HUMC Authority held their monthly meeting at  at Assumption Hall from 6:00PM-6:30PM. The meeting was brief for the public portion and sparsely attended due to the fact that no major news about the negotiations with Bayonne Medical Center was anticipated to be announced.

The first order of business was to appoint Catherine Shelly Williams to Treasurer to fill the vacancy left by Tejal Desai who took a finance job with the City of Hoboken after proving her worth with her volunteer service to the board.

Spiros Hatiras gave a brief update on the Hospital. He spoke of some seasonal issues that explain why the number of patients went down slightly partially due to all the snowy conditions. Also, the length of stay went up slightly as a result of the snowstorms. Also, he stated the EMR - electronic medical records initiative is progressing and that a full implementation would be soon. This initiative will improve the quality of patient care by reducing the chances for mistakes to happen.

Board Chair Toni Tomarazzo spoke next and said that negotiations with Bayonne Medical University are going well and in good faith. The first draft of the contract of the is under view and there are some open issues that still need to be negotiated between the two groups. She re-iterated that the negotiations are not a foregone conclusion and that nothing will be considered complete until the "ink is dry".

Toni also reminded the members in the audience that the three main goals of this deal are:

1) To  remain an acute care hospital in Hoboken.
2) To save jobs.
3) To release the city from the bond.

Toni concluded her report by saying at some point a special meeting will be called to update the public on progress when it makes sense.

Vincent Riccitelli, Acting CFO gave his assessment of the Hospitals financials next. He said that Total Assets are at $90 million and total Total Liabilities are at $93 million currently for the HUMC.  The loss for January was about $1,025,000.  Spiros Hatiras followed up by stating they are short about $8 million total compared to last year in terms of stabilization funds.

My Comment: The bottom line is that the Hospital is still losing money in its current format which necessitates a deal being done soon to save it from further losses. If the deal with Bayonne should not work out, they should go to the next viable vendor on the list. According to several people close to this, Bayonne put the best offer on the table and thus was awarded the right to exclusively deal with HUMC first. Getting the Hospital privatized was one of Dawn Zimmer's campaign goals. If this deal were to get done and still keep the hospital viable for years to come, she will have a lot of political capital for years to come. An official associated with the HUMC commended the quality of the Mayor's appointments to the board and I believe this is why the HUMC is closer to that goal. ◦