Hospital receives approval to open satellite emergency site
By RON ZEITLINGER
Jul. 31, 2017
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Jersey City Medical Center has been given the go-ahead to open a satellite emergency department in Bayonne.
The emergency department, which still needs final licensing approval, will be located in the recently opened RWJBarnabas Health medical arts building on Broadway between 23rd and 24th streets — roughly six blocks from CarePoint Health's Bayonne Medical Center.
The Jersey Journal (http://bit.ly/2eUOkQd) reports that the state Department of Health recently approved the plans.
"RWJBarnabas Health ... strongly supports enhanced access for quality care for all of Hudson County, including Bayonne and the Greenville section of Jersey City," a JCMC spokeswoman said. "We continue to move forward with our plans to expand medical services — including the satellite emergency department at the new Bayonne facility — in the near future, and remain steadfastly committed to providing health care services through our Jersey City Medical Center at Greenville facility as well."
The approval is the latest blow in the battle between the RWJBarnabas Health facility and CarePoint Health, which operates two other hospitals in Hudson County. State Department of Health officials said that nine applications filed by CarePoint Health to open satellite emergency departments in Hudson, Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties are still under review.
The JCMC needed a waiver from the state to open a satellite emergency department, or SED, in Bayonne, because SEDs are only allowed to be established to replace emergency rooms that have closed unless an operator shows good cause to open one elsewhere.
CarePoint Health officials filed "numerous" documents with the state in opposition to the JCMC bid for the waiver; and a group of local pastors and a small community group staged a media campaign against JCMC as well. The groups argued that Jersey City Medical Center should open the SED in the Greenville neighborhood, where it closed Greenville Hospital nearly 10 years ago.
CarePoint Health officials declined to comment on the approval of the Jersey City Medical Center SED, but issued a statement:
"CarePoint believes deeply in the principles of population health management," Kirat Kharode, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at CarePoint Health, said in the statement.
"Our satellite emergency departments will help address significant actual health care needs in northern New Jersey by improving quality and reducing costs through appropriately enhancing access to care."
Jersey City Medical Center said in its application that the emergency department at the Downtown Jersey City hospital saw 87,000 patients in 2016, when the facility is equipped to see 57,000 a year. It also noted that it could better serve the Greenville and Bayonne communities with the SED in Bayonne.
From 2012 through 2016, an average of 30,192 patients from Greenville and Bayonne were treated at the JCMC emergency room. In its approval, the state agreed that the new SED would alleviate the overcrowding at the Downtown emergency department.
CarePoint Health recently opened an urgent care center on Broadway near 30th Street, and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility Tuesday.
Of its nine satellite emergency department applications, one would be located in the Greenville neighborhood and another would be located in Downtown Jersey City. A Department of Health spokeswoman said those applications are still under review.
CarePoint officials have also said the company plans to open neighborhood health centers in Greenville and Union City.
The leader of one of the groups that were outspoken in asking the state to deny JCMC's application said the Greenville neighborhood is the loser here.
"It is a shame that the state Department of Health has put a powerful corporate interest ahead of the health care needs of the people of Greenville," said Demetrius Terry, executive director of the Coalition for Greenville Health Access. "Our neighborhood needs health care resources and JCMC has once again turned their back on our community by choosing to put profit ahead of providing care."