Bidding reopens in Christ Hospital sale

TRENTON – A bankruptcy judge reopened the bidding process in the fight to purchase Christ Hospital, according to a source close to the process as well as a Jersey Journal report.

The owners of Jersey City Medical Center (Community Healthcare Associates), as well as Hudson Holdco (a for-profit entity that owns Hoboken University Medical Center and Bayonne Medical Center) are competing to purchase Christ Hospital, a bankrupt, ailing facility in Jersey City.

Christ Hospital filed for bankruptcy while for sale on Feb. 6, listing between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors, and declaring between $50 million and $100 million in assets, according to a court filing.

The Creditors Committee in the bankruptcy selected Jersey City Medical Center as the winning bidder for the hospital, while the board at Christ Hospital voted to sell the facility to Hudson Holdco. The case then went to bankruptcy court.

A bankruptcy judge re-opened the bidding process on Friday, sources close to the situation said on Friday afternoon.

Andrew Sherman of Sills, Cummis, & Gross, PC of Newark, represents the creditors committee. He also represented the creditors in the bankruptcy of Hoboken University Medical Center, which was ultimately sold to Holdco by a municipal board.  

Prime Healthcare, of California, a for-profit company, originally put forward a bid to purchase Christ Hospital. After continued local scrutiny about the company’s methods in California, Prime withdrew its bid.

Following Prime’s withdrawal, local companies jumped to purchase the facility.

Holdco received increased scrutiny during the sale process of Hoboken’s hospital last year due to its donations to Reform Jersey Now, a pro-Gov. Chris Christie political action committee.

Last year, Christie and Hoboken Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos, (D-33), earmarked approximately $16 million in state money in an otherwise depleted budget to ease the sale of HUMC to Holdco. Holdco also owns Bayonne Medical Center, and is now looking to purchase their third hospital in Hudson County.

The New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority scheduled a meeting for Friday, March 30 at 2 p.m. in Trenton to approve Jersey City Medical Center to enter into a lease for space at Christ Hospital.

If Holdco wins the bid, the group would not need the Authority’s approval because they do not have Authority bonds.

The meeting will be held regardless of the outcome of the bankruptcy court judge decision on Friday afternoon, a representative said, just in case JCMC becomes the new owner.

Bidding reopens in Christ Hospital sale