May 29, 2013
Emerson, NJ… “Today HPAE learned that the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) is requiring that Meadowlands Hospital owners hire an independent financial monitor to review financial statements for the past three years, as well as financial projections into 2017 and report to the NJDOH, according to a letter sent from the NJDOH to the Meadowlands Hospital CEO on May 24.
For the past two years, consumer advocates, HPAE- the health care union representing nurses and staff at Meadowlands Hospital – and NJ Senators Weinberg and Vitale have all called on the Department of Health to require an independent monitor at the hospital, because of repeated failures by the hospital to file financial reports with the DOH; because of questions regarding the financial viability of the hospital; possible financial irregularities; and the hospital’s fluctuating operating margins. At one point at the end of 2011, the hospital owners took in more than $8 million in profits while the hospital had less than one day’s cash on hand.
We look forward to the public release of the independent monitor’s report on the financial viability of the hospital, as well as the disclosure of the actual finances of the hospital. According to the DOH letter, the monitor must be paid for by the hospital, and independent of hospital owners, and provide reports to the DOH.
As the union representing nurses and health care workers at Meadowlands Hospital, we remain committed to protecting the original mission of our community hospital, which has been adversely affected by staffing cuts and layoffs, patient safety violations, violations of employee rights, drastic changes in employee working conditions, failure to pay employee health care costs as required, and the hospital owner’s refusal to provide financial statements to the DOH, as required by law.
Meadowlands Hospital owners have consistently refused to comply with the requirements of NJ law, as well as federal labor law. We hope this is the beginning of providing the community, patients, taxpayers and workers with the information needed to hold the owners accountable for the transparency, and legal protections afforded by NJ and federal law to patients, community residents and workers.”