Meadowlands hospital runs low on cash, patients

Source: North New Jersey.com
State officials say they are “actively monitoring” Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus amid news that layoffs are looming because the hospital has so few patients.
The president and chief executive officer of Meadowlands, Tom Considine, notified employees this week that 102 positions would be cut — about a fifth of the hospital’s workforce — because of empty beds at the hospital…Last year, the 230-bed hospital had an average of 38 patients a night.

The hospital also appears to be very short on cash…A report prepared in March by an outside consultant said Meadowlands anticipates “achieving 15 days of operating cash on hand” by the end of 2017. New Jersey hospitals reported an average of 54 days’ cash on hand in 2012…

On the plus side, the hospital’s emergency room and outpatient surgery departments appear to be comparatively busy. Last year, more than 19,000 patients were treated at the emergency room — an average of more than 50 a day — and 5,800 patients had same-day procedures, according to state records. However, the hospital has been operating without a budget or a system to project how much is due from patients and their insurers, the report said…
“The public’s health, welfare and safety is at issue,” Renee Steinhagen of the New Jersey Appleseed law group wrote to Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd on Friday. “Now is the time to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.”
Officials are “aware of the hospital’s financial challenges and that the hospital has new leadership working to improve its financial condition,” Thomas said Friday. She referred to Considine, a former state insurance commissioner who became president in May, and his former assistant insurance commissioner, Neil Sullivan, who became the hospital’s general counsel earlier this year.
Meadowlands was purchased for $17.5 million in December 2010 by a for-profit group of investors led by Richard Lipsky and Tamara Dunaev. The investors took $14.4 million out of the hospital by June 2012, according to the first and only audited financial statement submitted to the state. MHA LLC, the ownership group, also sold the land the hospital occupies…
As a for-profit company, the owners can put money into the hospital from their private funds or borrow without going through the public bonding process typical of non-profit hospitals. It is not known whether they have or intend to do so during the current financial difficulties.
Additional financial reports — required as a condition of the sale — were due in June 2013 and June this year but have not been submitted. The hospital owes $12,000 in fines as a result.

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