Unionized healthcare workers at Carepoint hospitals call for oversight as the for-profit owner announces layoffs in Hudson County

On July 1st HPAE elected leaders were notified by Carepoint administration that layoff notices will be sent to employees in the coming weeks. HPAE, the largest union of nurses and health professionals in NJ, represents nurses at Christ Hospital in Jersey City and the nurses, health professionals, technical, service, business and clerical staff at Bayonne Medical Center in Bayonne.

“While layoffs are a common course of action for Carepoint, this does raise eyebrows in light of the scathing report released just a few months ago which highlighted questionable business practices and financial transactions made by the company. The recommendations of the state investigators must be reviewed, and the State must intervene to monitor how the owners will takes steps to protect the financial stability of Carepoint hospitals,” said Debbie White, RN and President.

According to a report released in March 2019 by the State of NJ Commission of Investigations, Carepoint hospitals paid tens of millions of dollars in questionable management fees and allocations to private entities known as “related parties.” These related-party management entities have no employees and only limited operating expenses which, in combination with other information, raises questions about the nature of their operations.

“Rather than heed the warnings of the report, Carepoint is relying on prior practices of reducing their healthcare workforce to protect the financial interests of the corporate owners,” added White.

The report released by SCI recommended:

  • First, enhance Department of Health’s (DOH) ability to help ensure the long-term adequacy and viability of hospitals by ensuring money is properly spent.
  • Second, enable DOH to conduct comparisons between and among various hospitals to best determine which hospitals may be in financial distress.
  • Finally, ensuring a proper understanding of the financials will only help the department and other state agencies, legislators and others make well-informed policy decisions regarding the amounts and types of state aid that should be allocated to hospitals.

HPAE urges the Murphy administration to appoint a financial monitor to implement the recommendations of the SCI report and bring oversight to NJ’s healthcare system.

“Under the previous administration our union’s warning cries regarding for-profit hospital finances were ignored by the Christie Administration. Now we are not alone in sounding the alarm as the state’s own investigation has alerted us all to questionable practices. The days of Chris Christie ignoring business practices that harm working people has come to an end. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy and Trenton lawmakers to bring transparency and accountability into healthcare to protect the interests of patients and healthcare professionals,” added White.

Details on the layoffs will be released after both the HPAE and administration negotiate the terms of the layoffs. At this time, it is expected that nearly 40 employees representative by HPAE will receive layoff notices at both hospitals.