Last night a dozen HPAE members and staff attended a public hearing on the affiliation of JFK Medical Center with Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH). If the merger goes through, HMH will own 15 hospitals in the state of New Jersey.
In her testimony at the hearing HPAE’s Public Policy Director Bridget Devane pointed out that “JFK Medical Center is a community hospital….The members of its board of directors have a duty to ensure that the hospital maintain provision of adequate services, and given the conflict of interest disclosures, appear to do so without seeking personal enrichment. The same cannot be said of all members of the Hackensack-Meridian board of directors.” Bridget noted a number of cases of conflict of interest within the HMH board.
Local 5058 President Kendra McCann’s testimony focused on the fact that that “Hackensack Meridian has been granted an exemption from the Certificate of Need (CN) process, therefore the community does not have access to information nor input on how access to services and quality of care are protected as well as patient safety and job security.” Kendra called on HMH to “….voluntarily apply for a full CN review to allow for community input and ultimately provide protections for patients and employees. We need to make sure that any decisions made will not compromise patient care and safety, community access to services, or cost us jobs.”
HPAE has emphasized the need for HMH to be transparent as they continue to expand and consolidate hospitals in NJ. As a union of health professionals we will continue to work with HMH to hold them accountable, to find and utilize best practices, as we all endeavor to make this transition as successful as possible for everyone.