Source: New Jersey Spotlight
New Jersey officials appeared unfazed by Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center’s involvement in AmeriMama — a controversial birth-tourism business — when they issued the facility a earlier this year. The program encouraged pregnant Russian women to come to the for-profit hospital to deliver babies who are automatically eligible to be U.S. citizens. But AmeriMama is far from the only indicator that something is awry at MHMC .
The 230-bed Secaucus hospital has been cited for various health and safety violations over the years and hit with escalating state fines totaling nearly $200,000 for late or missing financial filings, several of which are still outstanding. It accumulated roughly $4.5 million in federal tax liens, battled two national health insurance providers in court, and has been locked in a long-running dispute with the state’s largest healthcare union.
Meanwhile, the hospital’s investors reaped millions, and managed to tuck away even more by having the facility spend heavily on products and services offered by other companies they control.
For years critics have sought to increase state oversight of for-profit facilities like Meadowlands Hospital, which aren’t necessarily subject to the same disclosure standards that apply to nonprofit organizations.
The ownership group has a checkered history with regulators. Lipsky, a Russian-born anesthesiologist, operated an ambulatory-surgery center cited by state officials for multiple safety violations and for delinquent in paying state fees. Lipsky has also made news for his involvement with a controversial rapid drug-detox practice.
in 2014 discovered poor tracking of medical mistakes; error-prone systems to control drug dispensation; problems with nursing oversight; and physical concerns like peeling paint, exposed wires, and dirty surfaces. Visits the following year revealed poor recordkeeping, expired food, and deteriorating building conditions, according to published reports.
An analysis of information filed by the hospital last October, conducted by a nonprofit watchdog, the Leapfrog Group, suggests the hospital has had some quality-control problems. Data showed patients at MHMC suffered a very high rate of bedsores, catheter infections, and injuries as a result of hospitalization.
Leapfrog also issues a general every six months based on a compilation of data. Meadowlands received a “D” in the April report.
The state urged the hospital to hire an experienced financial consultant and, in the spring of 2013, Meadowlands tapped Executive Resources, a company with offices in New Jersey, Louisiana and Florida, to review its finances and create a strategic plan.
Concerns about the hospital’s operations prompted the state Legislature to approve a measure in 2012 that would have required for-profits to file the same financial information as nonprofits. But Christie issued a conditional veto that August.
The hospital’s lobbyist, Princeton Public Affairs, said only that hospital owners looked forward to working with state officials on the sale and that the result will benefit patients and the community.