Saturday, July 23, 2011

More on the HUMC sale to HUMC Holdco and Why Beth Mason Sux

I have uploaded additional video from the public meeting on the proposed sale of the HUMC to HUMC Holdco that was held at Our Lady of Grace Church Annex on 7-21-2011. This meeting was held to allow the public to comment before the NJ Health and Senior Services Board to address their points of view on the proposed sale of the Hospital. Most of the comments for for this transaction though some were against or had concerns that the deal was only for 7 years or that there are some practices by the Bayonne Medical group that leave something to be desired. All in all while I have concerns about this transaction I believe the decision has to me made as the Hospital as at the point of no return and I can't see risking waiting up to one more year to restart the whole process again just to satisfy all of the Union's demands. I will just have to respectfully disagree with them on that point. I think that is the best way to save as many jobs as possible.

Here are my points that I had in my head before the meeting as well as afterwards:
  • In my opinion the hospital being made a public entity should have never been a Hoboken only issue. St. Mary's/HUMC serves not only Hoboken but Jersey City and Union City residents as well. Former Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons and Union City Mayor Brian Stack should have been a part of the equation when Dave Roberts and the City Council were considering the take over of the Hospital and backing it with a guarantee for the Hoboken taxpayer. If that deal had to be done it should have never only been put on the back of the Hoboken taxpayer exclusively. If it is indeed true that this was the only way to save the Hospital in 2007 Hoboken should not have been the only entity putting up the guarantee.
  • If Freeholder Anthony Romano is so concerned about keeping the hospital open and rightfully so, where is his pledge to provide County assistance to the HUMC to help keep it afloat as a stop gap measure?
  • The reality is that the hospital isn't doing well financially for a variety of reasons:
  1. Management has failed to delivered the kind of returns they were hoping for based improvements. Things have improved but not enough to drive profitable business to the hospital. We paid Harvey Holzberg from Dave Robert's circle of political patronage $800,000 a year to try to turn around the Hospital and he did not do so. Proof that you don't always get what you pay for. 
  2. The demand for the services of the Hospital  appears not to be there due to the failures to implement enough improvements in point number one to justify current staffing levels. 
  3. Not enough cost cutting measures were implemented soon enough under both Harvey Holzberg and Spiros Hatiras. Why was the money losing HUMC Foundation kept on for so long? 
  4. The goal of the hospital should have been about running it to provide services and not protecting jobs. While it is commendable that the unions all agreed to a pay cut, the better management decision would have been to cut the appropriate jobs instead of keeping everyone on. As painful as that would have been it would have been a much wiser move towards the Hospital's long term viability. 
  5. As a standalone entity, the hospital does not have the ability to negotiate favorable reimbursement rates. For most services that they provide they are operating at a loss. 
  6. Perhaps Obama care in 2014 will address some of the financial strain of giving care to the uninsured but the demographics of those who come to the hospital currently are too great on the uninsured side to sustain those who can afford to pay. 
  • Hoboken needs an acute care facility, it might just not need the number of beds that it has currently. 
  • Beth Mason rightfully opposed making the Hospital Public back then so why has she been trying to obstruct the privatization over recent months? If you have been following Beth Mason's lunacy and hypocrisy you already know the answer Beth Mason's rabble rousing and outright lies on this issue have been despicable. Like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings, her obsession for the ring of Mayoral power have put her own political self interests above that of the community just to attack Mayor Dawn Zimmer in trying to fulfill one of her campaign promises. I can just see her mouthing "My Precious" while her quest for power distorts her physiology over time which it indeed has. No amount of Joker makeup or fake political pandering smiles can mask that now. 
  • I heard enough testimony from the Bayonne Medical Group to believe that they have what it takes to get the HUMC back into the black. I don't think I will like every decision they will make and honestly I would like to see the agreement at least extend to 10, 15 years but at this point we should take the deal that is on the table currently. 
  • Stabilization funds are running out and without that the Hospital can't last another year. Twice this year, according to a source, they have had to get advances on the funds to just make payroll. There is a simple formula to determine how long the hospital will last: how much is left in funds vs. how much the hospital is losing daily equals the time left before the hospital completely runs out of cash. They can't refinance any more since they already did that by putting balloon payments out to 2027 and are paying interest only on at least one issue. This Hospital in its public form has been held up by financial gimmicks since its inception.
  • Hoboken needs a professional group to turn the hospital around, not political cronies and union talking heads. 
  • Bayonne Medical has a proven track record. 
  • They were the only bidder of 6 that met all 4 criteria in the publicly noticed RFP. 
  • The HUMC Board voted unanimously to award them the right to exclusively negotiate. 
  • Hoboken needs the HUMC to continue and needs the politicians out and the professionals in to try and turn this thing around. 
I rest my case and I am not alone. See the videos below to mostly back up what I am talking about.

Video Highlights of Speakers on the HUMC sale at Our Lady of Grace Church Annex 7-21-2011: