Corzine inks St. Mary measure

Corzine inks St. Mary measure
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - Gov. Jon Corzine signed a bill Monday that will pave the way for the city to take ownership of St. Mary Hospital, signaling the conclusion of a six-month saga that began when the owners of the 140-year-old facility filed paperwork with the state to shut the hospital.

With legislation in place, the Hoboken City Council is expected to introduce an ordinance at a meeting tonight allowing the city to create an authority that will run the hospital, the oldest in the state, and take ownership as soon as October.

"We are so grateful to the governor, with all that was going on last week, that he signed so quickly," said Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, who is also a spokeswoman for the hospital.

Corzine, who lives in Hoboken, signed the legislation hours after the Senate and the Assembly approved the measure.

St. Mary Hospital, which has lost more than $118 million since Bon Secours took ownership in 2000, appears to be on solid financial footing for the 2007 fiscal year - with roughly $26 million set aside in aid.

The state budget earmarked $4 million in grants for St. Mary Hospital - $1 million less than originally expected.

In addition, St. Mary Hospital will receive $22 million in "disproportionate share" funding - money earmarked for public hospitals that treat charity care patients.

Of those funds, half will come from the federal government and the other half will come from Bon Secours, which, as part of the settlement, agreed to pay the state's portion of the match.

Harvey Holzberg, the new president and CEO of St. Mary, said he was pleased with the outcome.

"It shows recognition that St. Mary Hospital is a necessary institution serving the community the way it's supposed to," he said.

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