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If you care about health care in Hudson County, this is your week.
From the very top of the county to the southernmost tip, there has been activity in the world of hospital and health care business.
Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen announced plans for an expanded emergency room, and down in Bayonne, the city council is once again considering legislation to scoop up the Bayonne Medical Center property via eminent domain.
Meanwhile, in Journal Square, the new Englewood Health outpatient center is preparing for a ribbon-cutting Wednesday.
Palisades Medical Center
North Bergen’s hospital will spend approximately $35 million to upgrade its Emergency Department come 2024 or 2025, its parent company, Hackensack Meridian Health, announced Wednesday.
It cited higher patient volume and population growth as the catalyst for the project.
The company gathered the donors and other stakeholders at the swanky Son Cubano restaurant on the West New York waterfront to announce the news and said it will be turning to philanthropy to help fund a portion of the project.
“This will be transformational to our community and our team members working in the ER,” a company spokeswoman said. “We recently partnered with a design firm to deliver plan drawings based on surveys our team members have weighed in on to provide the best care in a safe and efficient manner.”
Hackensack Meridian said it is also expanding urology, endocrinology, pulmonology and nephrology at the adjacent medical office building and is forming more partnerships with doctors in the area.
“Expansion, and making Palisades Medical Center stand out in the community, is critical,” the spokeswoman said.
Bayonne Medical Center
More than a year ago, Bayonne began considering laying the foundation for an eminent domain grab of the Bayonne Medical Center property from landlord Hudson Regional Hospital as the current operator CarePoint Health and the Secaucus-based hospital fought over who would be the hospital’s next owner.
At the time, the city council introduced a $95 million bond ordinance that would allow the Hudson County Improvement Authority to help finance the move. But it never advanced, since it never had the votes to pass.
Well now that one of those “no” votes is out of the picture, the ordinance has found its way back on the agenda.
Former City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowsi, who was against the city’s involvement through eminent domain, left the council, instead opting to run for mayor. Now, the city council is fully aligned with Mayor Jimmy Davis, offering the ordinance a better likelihood of passing.
Davis has offered support to CarePoint Health as it has made plans to transition 49% its operations of the hospital to BMC Hospital, LLC, a group of healthcare investors. Earlier this year the hospital was transferred to a non-profit operated by the hospital’s CEO. The state Department of Health must approve the sale.
By pulling the property from Hudson Regional Hospital’s grasp, the city would gain more power over its future operations as well.
“Our goal is to maintain the property as a hospital and to lease it to a qualified medical business that would operate it as an acute care facility for the benefit of our community,” Davis said. “This is the first of many steps that would have to be taken to realize this goal.”
He is not the only local mayor thinking of using eminent domain powers to protect a hospital.
Hoboken, under Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s leadership, appears to be examining the same option for Hoboken University Medical Center, also a CarePoint Health facility. Hoboken, however, would consider ousting CarePoint Health and select another operator. The land is currently owner by Avery Eisenreich, the founder of the Alaris nursing homes chain, but is under contract to Hudson Regional Hospital.
The new, $10 million-plus Englewood Health outpatient center in Journal Square has been open to patients for a few months, but the organization will celebrate the new facility with a ribbon-cutting event tomorrow.
Located at 2 Journal Square, near the PATH station, the center includes urgent care, a hematology/oncology unit and an orthopedic unit. It represents Englewood’s largest and most prominent investment in Hudson County.
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