Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Muhlenberg For Sale: clarification needed

Today's Courier News front page story is about Muhlenberg Hospital as discussed by City Council members and citizens at last nights Plainfield Council meeting. At the meeting I stated that the sale of the hospital is a private transaction but that the hospital and the Solaris system is so heavily funded/subsidized by taxpayer monies and supported by a property tax exemption that citizens have a financial interest in the sale. I asked the Council committee on Muhlenberg to take this into consideration as an issue to pursue. I stated that this could be an action item to bring to the regulators and legislators who have oversight on the hospital.

After the meeting I was asked by the Courier News reporter to explain my statement. He quoted me in the news story accurately. Unfortunately he mistakenly said I was calling for legal action by the council. I have called the Courier and asked for a follow-up correction to be made to clarify my position. News flash - after writing this blog the Courier reporter called to acknowldge the mistake and said the correction would be printed in Thursdays paper.

My position is that the Council committee on Muhlenberg seriously consider recommending back to Council the following: we request the Commissioner of Health to work with us and Solaris to make the hospital sale a more public process. This can be done in a number of ways. One would be to have an appraisal done to set a minimum bid for Muhlenberg and then do a competitive bidding process - all bids to be opened in public. There are others options such as legislative action by the New Jersey Legislature to make this sale process transparent. That will be up to the Council's Muhlenberg committee to consider.

Another point of clarification: when I say "minimum bid" I am referring to more than just the dollar amount. I mean medical services as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Councilman Storch,

Suggesting a real esate appraisal sounds fine at first glance. A special use property, such as a hospital, has a value-in-use. Value-in-use assumes a viable going concern which at this time does not exist. On the other hand, there is market value, and since hospitals don't sell unless there are economic problems, the market value is most likely at a discount to the value-in-use. Other factors to consider are adaptive reuse of the hospital, market value of the under lying dirt if the site is put to its highest & best use, feasibility study etc. It would appear that until the fate of the hospital is finalized, an appraisal at this time is premature.

Best Regards,
William H. Hetfield, MAI