Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins today called Prime Healthcare Service’s plans to double its investment in Saint Michael’s Medical Center to $50 million a “game changer” for the city.
But Chaneyfield Jenkins said the state must expedite its approval of the sale of the Newark hospital to Prime once U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Vincent F. Papalia signs off on the sale Thursday.
Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, who led the fight to save Saint Michael's, speaking at a rally at the Robert Treat Hotel on Tuesday, discussing the importance of Prime's $50 million investment in the hospital.
Prime was selected as the winning bidder by the Board of Directors of Saint Michael’s on Monday over Prospect Medical Holdings. Papalia is expected to sign off on the sale Thursday, but the state Department of Health and the state Attorney General’s Office must still approve the deal.
“Once the bankruptcy court affirms the board’s choice of Prime, I am calling on the state agencies to expedite their approvals of this sale,” said Chaneyfield Jenkins, who has been leading the fight to save Saint Michael’s. “We have waited long enough – too long, in fact – for this the state to approve the sale to Prime.”
Prime first entered into an agreement to purchase Saint Michael’s nearly three years ago, but the state has delayed the approvals, forcing the hospital to seek bankruptcy protection in August, which opened the door for other bidders.
As part of their bid, Prime agreed to double their investment from $25 million to $50 million to upgrade and modernize Saint Michael’s facilities on Central Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
“This $50 million investment to upgrade and modernize Saint Michael’s is a game changer for Newark’s economy,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said. “The state needs to recognize how important Prime’s investment is to our city. Prime’s investment will create jobs in the Central Ward and modernize our hospital. We need Prime to make this investment and we need it now, not later.”
Chaneyfield Jenkins also noted that the state’s approval of Prime will mean more permanent jobs at the hospital.
“Right now, I know that Saint Michael’s has had difficulty recruiting staff as well as doctors because of all the uncertainty surrounding its future,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said. “Once this sale is approved, Saint Michael’s can start hiring permanent employees, many of whom will be from Newark.”