Senate committee to look at hospital sale amid allegations of corruption

As allegations of illegalities surface against the non-profit that manages Hoboken Hospital, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will hear issues surrounding the conversion of non-profit hospitals to for-profit status Monday at its scheduled meeting.

The committee plans to examine problems that have arisen from the transfer of public hospitals to private status.  The hearing is scheduled amid the backdrop of the Hoboken Hospital transfer, which has faced allegations of illegal activity by the board that manages the hospital.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg, the chairwoman of the committee, has asked both the U.S. Attorney and the state Attorney General to investigate the sale and the hospital’s bankruptcy.

If reports are true, the actions of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority represent criminal fraud and malfeasance, and should be prosecuted to the highest standard of law,” Weinberg said. “State and local taxpayers and health care consumers deserve to know that the deal struck to transfer HUMC to private owners was done following the letter and spirit of law, and that jobs and access to care will be preserved. The latest allegations cast a shadow on this deal, and I hope that State and federal regulators will get to the bottom of this sooner, rather than later, and that the Department of Health will withhold approval until all of the allegations are put to rest.”

Earlier this week, attorney Donald Scarinci said in court papers that he resigned as the hospital’s attorney because of a “pattern of conduct by the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority board members to intimidate, threaten, control, abuse and attempt to force the CEO of [the hospital] and members of the board to take actions adverse to its charter and otherwise violate the laws of the state of New Jersey.”

Friday, a source told State Street Wire that a major player in the sale has alerted the U.S. Attorney to possible illegalities. Weinberg said any deal approved to transfer ownership of the hospital, without answering the questions raised in allegations over the proceedings, would be tainted with at least the appearance of corruption.

Below are Weinberg’s letters to Attorney General Paula Dow and U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

Senate committee to look at hospital sale amid allegations of corruption