Jersey Journal

Content Posted by Jersey Journal

HUMC Holdco, the new owner of Hoboken University Medical Center, and the hospital's nurses unions have reached an agreement on a contract

The contract, which covers from this past Dec. 9 through September 2014, was ratified by a local collective bargaining committee composed of HUMC nurses, JNESO executive director Virginia Treacy said yesterday.

Under the new agreement, nurses will receive raises for three years 1 percent this year, 1.5 percent in 2012 and 2 percent in 2013, Treacy said. After 2013, Treacy said, some will be eligible for a 2.5 to 3 percent raise that also serves as an "employee retention incentive."

Nurses can now use sick time as they earn it instead of waiting to accrue a year's worth of sick days, Treacy said. In addition, full-time nurses now cannot be sent home mid-shift without pay and nurses cannot be sent to units where they lack expertise, experience or practice, Treacy said.

The union, she said, made one painful concession.

"We lost our pension, which was a difficult pill to swallow," said Treacy. "It was a major loss well, it was already lost (even before the new owners took over)."

Treacy said while most of JNESO's nurses, who average about 50 years in age, will be hit hard by the loss, it will save the hospital more than $1 million annually.

Hoboken parking enforcement officer claims supervisors sexually harassed her: suit

A Hoboken Parking Utility (HPU) employee is suing the utility and two of her supervisors on charges of sexual harassment.

Parking enforcement officer Catherine Stewart said in a civil complaint filed this week with the state superior court that since she began working at the utility in July 2010, she has been subjected to harassment by two employees. She also claims agency officials turned a blind eye to their lewd behavior.

Stewart says that her supervisor Hector Mojica made "direct obscene and vulgar sexual comments" even before he was in a position of authority, according to the lawsuit.

When she refused his advances, he pulled strings to give her less desirable positions (working on the street instead of in a vehicle), took away scheduled overtime hours and threatened to fire her, the suit says.

Debate swells over future of Neumann Leather in Hoboken after area declared in need of rehabilitation

The debate over the future of the 17-building Neumann Leather complex located at 300 Observer Hwy. is heating up again after the Hoboken City Council declared an area including the property in need of rehabilitation.

On Oct. 19, the council unanimously agreed with the Planning Board's recommendation that the area's deteriorated sewer and water systems merited rehabilitation.

The city will form a committee to create a recommended plan for the area. It cannot, however, take its propertes or force owners like Neumann Leather's William Bernheim to follow their recommendation, said Planning Board attorney Clifford Gibbons.

N.J. looks to close fee loophole utilized by Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center

New Jersey is set to clamp down on a North Jersey hospital that insurance companies claim is billing them as much as 3,000 percent more than its own outpatient surgery centers charge for the same treatment.

Part of the plan by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to contain rising auto insurance rates targets the business practices of Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, bought in December by the owners of three surgery centers in Bergen and Essex counties.

Since then, the new owners have been referring auto accident victims from their same-day surgery center to Meadowlands to take advantage of a fee loophole, according to insurance executives and confirmed by the Department of Banking and Insurance. The state limits what same-day surgery centers may charge, but it does not regulate what hospitals may charge for most outpatient care. And at Meadowlands, that difference can be substantial insurers and state officials say.

Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason calls for transparency in sale of University Medical Center, criticizes $600,000 severance package for resigned hospital CEO

Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason spoke out about the $600,000 severance package the former CEO of the Hoboken University Medical Center received after resigning.

"This morning the Star Ledger and Jersey Journal began to shine a light on what is really going behind the scenes as the sale of our hospital moves forward," Mason wrote.

"Financial records reveal that the hospital's former CEO was awarded a $600,000 severance package shortly before the hospital's management company filed for bankruptcy. This golden parachute was approved by Mayor Zimmer and the members of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority...The parachute is an absolute disgrace and should be terminated immediately," she wrote.

Hoboken taxpayers on hook for $100,000 of severance package that HMHA wasn't obligated to pay

Former chief operating officer Spiros Hatiras will receive a $600,000 severance package from the Hoboken University Medical Center even though the agency that oversees the hospital is not obligated to pay it.

And what Hoboken taxpayers may find more appalling is that they are on the hook for $100,000 of that package. Hatiras, who resigned on July 14, was CEO for just two years.

According to a resolution approved by the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority, the city-created agency that oversees the city-owned hospital, new owners HUMC Holdco LLC are responsible for 80 percent, or $500,000, and the city is responsible for the remaining $100,000.

Hoboken's approval of Willow Street project violates low-income housing requirements, lawsuit alleges

Fair Share Housing Center has filed a suit charging the Zoning Board and Advance at Hoboken LLC, the developer of a planned 140-unit housing development at 1300 Willow St., with failing to comply with fair housing regulations.

The center, which was created in 1975 to ensure fair housing in New Jersey, filed suit challenging the approval and seeking compliance with Hoboken’s ordinance on housing for lower-income households.

The suit was filed in Hudson County Superior Court on July 6.

Fair Share Housing Center Associate Director Kevin Walsh said 10 percent of new housing in the city is required to be available for lower-income families, but the rule is not being enforced in new developments.

Hoboken University Medical Center CEO Spiros Hatiras resigns

Spiros Hatiras has stepped down as the chief operating officer at the Hoboken University Medical Center, Hoboken Now has learned.

The Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority accepted his resignation last night at a meeting, hospital spokeswoman Joan Quigley said.

Hatiras' resignation comes as the city-owned hospital is in the process of being sold to the owners of the Bayonne Medical Center.

Vinnie Riccitelli, HUMC's chief financial officer, will be interim CEO until the sale is finalized. The sale is valued at $91 million -- $25 million earmarked for capital improvements and the balance going toward paying off the hospital's debt.

Hispanic cops on former Hoboken SWAT team settle discrimination lawsuit

Hoboken has agreed to pay five Hispanic officers $2 million to settle a federal discrimination lawsuit brought by the officers in October 2007, according to sources.

The Newark law firm that represented the officers has scheduled a press conference for noon today at the Hilton Gateway Hotel at Newark Penn Station to discuss the settlement.

The five officers, four of whom were members of the city’s now-disbanded SWAT unit, will also be present, according to a press release from the law firm, Ginarte, O’Dwyer, Gonzalez, Gallardo & Winograd.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs and defendants signed an agreement dismissing the case on Friday, according to court records, which noted the settlement was agreed upon in May.

“We are happy it’s over,” said Sgt. Edwin Pantoja, one of the cops who filed the lawsuit. “We can put this behind us and move forward.” He declined to discuss specifics of the settlement.

A petition has come out against Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer's plan to privatize the Hoboken University Medical Center to HUMC Holdco LLC, the same company that operates Bayonne Medical Center.

A petition has come out against Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer's plan to privatize the Hoboken University Medical Center to HUMC Holdco LLC, the same company that operates Bayonne Medical Center.

The petition was started by NJ Appleseed, a public interest law center. As of 1 p.m. Thursday, the petition has seven signatures.

"We believe the propose sale is likely to result in the deterioration in the quality, availability or accessibility of health services in Hoboken and other Hudson County communities," said 
Renee Steinhagen, executive director of NJ Appleseed.

The petition, which was sent to 22 state lawmakers including Governor Chris Christie and Zimmer, says that HUMC Holdco LLC does not value quality and affordable healthcare.

Steinhagen is looking for 100 signatures.

The petition states: "Based on the track record of Bayonne Medical Center including termination of nearly all insurance contracts, dramatic increases in the cost of in-patient care, and some of the lowest quality of care scores in the county, we believe that the process undertaken by the Authority has not provided the Hoboken community and stakeholders with the best option available."