TRENTON – A state examination of the overpopulated hospital market in Hudson County, particularly three hospitals in Jersey City and Hoboken, was published this week, with recommended consolidation options ranging from combining similar services, to one hospital – Christ Hospital – shuttering its doors and converting to cliff-side housing.
The report examined Christ Hospital in Jersey City, Hoboken University Medical Center, and Jersey City Medical Center to “inventory the health care services available in the primary service areas…to determine whether duplication of services or unused capacity exists in this area of Hudson County, and if so, propose recommendations to the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) for consolidation or regionalization of services.”
The hospitals submitted to the state examination as a condition of stabilization grants; all three hospitals received $7 million in stabilization funds in 2010.
Along with 763 beds combined in Christ, HUMC, and JCMC, the area is also home to Palisades Medical Center (180 beds) and Bayonne Medical Center (201 beds). “Inpatient utilization in the market area has decreased over the last few years, and given the relatively stable population base in the market area, is unlikely to increase to any significant extent for the foreseeable future,” according to the report released by the Department of Health and Senior Services. “The current and projected demand for inpatient hospital services indicates there is a substantial surplus of maintained beds (264) which is projected to increase modestly by 2014 to a surplus of 268 to 290 beds.”
The report also states: “All three hospitals offer essentially the same complement of general acute care services and have occupancy rates well below recommended targets: the three hospitals combined have an occupancy rate of 43 percent in pediatrics (compared to the target level of 65 percent), 55 percent in obstetrics (compared to the target of 75 percent), and 75 percent in medical/surgical services (compared to the target level of 85 percent). These figures indicate that there is substantial duplication of services in the market area, especially in services like obstetrics and pediatrics.”
During the report analysis, HUMC, the only city-owned hospital in the state, began a process to sell its facilities to an LLC group controlled by owners of the Bayonne Medical Center, which the report said it took into account.
Among the recommended options for consolidation was a “repurposing” of Christ Hospital’s Jersey City Heights campus overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan “as a means of reducing the excess bed capacity in the market area, perhaps utilizing the scenic locale for residential development and/or retaining emergency and ambulatory care services.”
The full report can be read here: http://observer-media.go-vip.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/07/hudson_hospital_services_consolidation_report1.pdf