'Innovative' NJ hospital merger marries for-profit with nonprofits to preserve safety-net care

Northern New Jersey health systems Hudson Regional Hospital and CarePoint Health System are working to form a new entity blending for-profit and nonprofit hospitals together “in an innovative new model,” the organizations announced Friday.

The four-hospital network, to be named Hudson Health System, would include Hudson Regional Hospital, in Secaucus, and CarePoint’s Bayonne Medical Center, Hoboken University Medical Center and Christ Hospital in Jersey City, according to a release from the systems.

The latter two hospitals will remain as nonprofit safety-net providers under the proposed partnership, and each Hudson Health System location will continue to be in-network with “all major insurance carriers,” according to the announcement, which also noted that additional details regarding the merger “will be announced in the coming days.”

"Since entering this marketplace in 2018 our team has driven a patient-focused mission that incorporates technology and engages leading healthcare professionals to deliver care under a new model," Hudson Regional Chairman Yan Moshe— who acquired the hospital half a decade ago and would become chairman of Hudson Health System under the new arrangement — said in the announcement. "I am excited to bring our proven track record and experienced team in partnership with [CarePoint’s leadership] to build a high quality, stable healthcare system that the county deserves.”

The coming together of former rivals is a financial lifeline for CarePoint that, per Moshe, and was brokered in part by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and other Hudson County elected officials.

In the fall, the New Jersey Department of Health warned local leaders (PDF) that Carepoint was “in financial distress or at risk of being in financial distress.” The system had, for a second consecutive year, requested an advance on charity care subsidy payments “citing cashflow and other financial issues” and, as of July 2023, was working with about 25 days of cash on hand and a -14.1% operating margin.

Additionally, CarePoint was recently sued by over a dozen vendors for $5.7 million over allegations that the system hadn’t compensated them for their services.

"It became clear over the last several months that Hudson County had an opportunity to create a dynamic new healthcare model,” Mayor Fulop said in the systems’ announcement. “I am pleased to say that the discussions on all sides were driven by a shared commitment to the interests of the patients. It is a complex undertaking to blend facilities and cultures and managements, but out of this effort we have arrived at an admirable place: Hudson County is now a leader in community-focused care."

The proposed merger still requires approval from the New Jersey State Department of Health. However, it looks to have the initial backing of Fulop and several other mayors and state senators who were cited in the deal’s announcement.

“Ensuring that Christ Hospital and the rest of the CarePoint system can continue to operate is one of my highest legislative priorities,” New Jersey State Senator Angela McKnight (D) said in the announcement. “I'm ecstatic to see this partnership come to fruition and I believe that it represents a new beginning for our communities, especially for our seniors and the people who most need high-quality healthcare."

CarePoint executives affirmed that the arrangement would strengthen their financial position and improve the care of Hudson County’s residents.

"Hudson County is the most diverse and dynamic community in New Jersey, and its residents deserve nothing less than exceptional care, affordable access, the most advanced specialties and technology, and the highest caliber physicians to serve patients' needs, especially the underserved communities that rely on our facilities," CarePoint President and CEO Achintya Moulick, M.D., who will be tapped to hold the same titles within the new organization, said in the announcement.

“Tan Moshe has shown the type of innovative leadership that will allow us to thrive in an ever-changing healthcare environment, and with adequate state support, I believe we can build a hospital system that will deliver on its core mission,” he said.