NEWARK – Feb. 4, 2016 – Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark cleared a significant hurdle today after the State Health Planning Board signed off on a recommendation to approve the hospital’s sale to Prime Healthcare Services.
After a hearing at the Department of Health in Ewing, the board voted to accept the recommendation from the state Department of Health staff to approve Saint Michael’s application for a Certificate of Need to transfer ownership to Prime.
The recommendation now goes to Acting State Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett, who has up to 120 days to render a decision.
“We still have several steps ahead of us before the sale to Prime is completed, but are encouraged by this latest development and hope that Commissioner Bennett will render her decision quickly,” said Saint Michael’s President & CEO David Ricci.
The Health Planning Board’s sign-off comes nearly three years after Saint Michael’s applied to the state for the Certificate of Need to transfer ownership to Prime and to the state Attorney General’s Office under the Community Health Care Assets Protection Act.
Since the applications were filed, Saint Michael’s voluntarily filed in August for reorganization under Chapter 11, an action Prime agreed was necessary to preserve the medical center’s financial viability following the protracted application process.
As part of the reorganization process, other interested parties were invited to bid on the hospital. Prime emerged as the winning bidder with a $62 million offer. In addition, Prime agreed to double the amount of money it plans to invest in upgrading and modernizing the hospital to $50 million.
As part of its initial offer, Prime has agreed to keep the hospital over the next five years, hire substantially all 1,400 hospital employees, maintain or increase current levels of charity care, and maintain existing health insurance contracts.
“We are grateful to the State Health Planning Board for recommending approval of our purchase of Saint Michael’s Medical Center, as well as to the staff of the Department of Health and Attorney General’s office for their thorough review and due diligence throughout the approval process,” said Luis Leon, President of Operations of Prime Healthcare Services.
“Prime Healthcare is committed to preserving and expanding high-quality healthcare resources, particularly in underserved communities,” Leon said. “We look forward to welcoming the physicians, nurses, and employees at Saint Michael’s to our growing Prime family in New Jersey and working with them to continue Saint Michael’s more than 150-year legacy of service to the greater Newark community.”
The sale of Saint Michael’s to Prime has widespread support in the community. At a hearing on Dec. 15 before the State Health Planning Board at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, 33 people testified, all in favor of the sale of Saint Michael’s to Prime. Those who testified included patients, employees, doctors, nurses, union representatives, clergy, members of the community, and elected officials, including state Assemblyman Tom Giblin, Essex County Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake, and members of the Newark City Council, which had unanimously passed a resolution earlier last year supporting the sale.
Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, who has been leading the community effort to save the hospital, testified today that the sale of Saint Michael’s to Prime will have a positive impact on the community she represents.
“The Board’s action today will save 1,400 jobs in Newark, preserve competition so our residents have a choice of health care providers, and put $50 million of private investment into the heart of the city,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said. “No matter how you look at it, this is a win for Newark.”
About Saint Michael’s Medical Center
Established by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in 1867, Saint Michael’s is a 357-bed regional tertiary care, teaching, and research center in the heart of Newark’s business and educational district. Saint Michael’s Medical Center is a member of Trinity Health.
About Prime Healthcare Services
Prime Healthcare Services is an award-winning national hospital system with 42 acute-care hospitals providing nearly 42,000 jobs in 14 states. Eleven of the hospitals are members of the Prime Healthcare Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity. The mission of the Prime Healthcare Foundation is to provide quality, compassionate healthcare for all, and serve communities through various charitable and educational initiatives. Based in California and one of the largest hospital systems in the country, Prime Healthcare is committed to ensuring access to quality healthcare. It has been recognized as among the “100 Top Hospitals” in the nation 33 times and among the “15 Top Health Systems” three times, and is the only “10 Top Health System” west of the Mississippi. Numerous hospitals have been recognized by The Joint Commission as among the “Top Performers on Key Quality Measures” in 2015. For more information, please visit www.primehealthcare.com