Taken from NJ Spotlight, August 11, 2016
New Jersey officials appeared unfazed by Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center’s involvement in AmeriMama — a controversial birth-tourism business — when they issued the facility aearlier this year. The program encouraged pregnant Russian women to come to the for-profit hospital to deliver babies who are automatically eligible to be U.S. citizens.
But AmeriMama is far from the only indicator that something is awry at MHMC .
The 230-bed Secaucus hospital has been cited for various health and safety violations over the years and hit with escalating state fines totaling nearly $200,000 for late or missing financial filings, several of which are still outstanding. It accumulated roughly $4.5 million in federal tax liens, battled two national health insurance providers in court, and has been locked in a long-running dispute with the state’s largest healthcare union.
Meanwhile, the hospital’s investors reaped millions, and managed to tuck away even more by having the facility spend heavily on products and services offered by other companies they control.
But a number of healthcare advocates, legislators, and labor leaders said “birth tourism” is only the latest in a long history questionable business practices undertaken by the facility’s current owners. For years critics have sought to increase state oversight of for-profit facilities like Meadowlands Hospital, which aren’t necessarily subject to the same disclosure standards that apply to nonprofit organizations. (Today a dozen of New Jersey’s 72 acute-care hospitals have for-profit status. Ten years ago there were only a few.)