Coalition to Save Saint Michael’s Medical Center Delivers Over 41,000
Signatures to Gov. Christie
TRENTON – June 23, 2015 – Members of the Coalition to Save Saint Michael’s Medical Center
traveled from Newark to the Statehouse in Trenton today to deliver petitions
with more than 41,000 signatures urging Gov. Christie to approve the sale
of the Newark hospital to Prime Healthcare.
The coalition delivered the petitions to the governor’s office after
members of the coalition spoke about the importance of keeping Saint Michael’s
open for Newark residents.
Prime Healthcare has an agreement to purchase Saint Michael’s Medical
Center, but the administration of Gov. Christie has held up the sale for
more than two years.
“We are here today to let the governor know that we want this hospital
to stay open,” said Newark Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins,
who has been leading the effort to keep the hospital open.
“Make no mistake about it. Closing Saint Michael’s Medical
Center is about eliminating competition and when you eliminate competition,
you eliminate jobs,” Chaneyfield-Jenkins said. “As the Central Ward
Councilwoman, I will not stand by
and let that happen on my watch.”
Closing Saint Michael’s will result in the elimination of more than1,400
jobs and create a monopoly in in-patient health care services that will
drive up costs while forcing patients to seek medical care outside of
Newark for certain procedures.
“I'm a Newark resident and Saint Michael's is where I have
always gone for care. The staff is compassionate, the doctors are the
best, and I receive the care I need regardless of my insurance. Newark
residents need Saint Michael’s to remain open,” said Karim
Sharif, a Saint Michael’s patient.
The coalition has garnered widespread support from around the community,
including elected officials, organized labor, and clergy.
“For the spiritual leaders of this community, keeping Saint Michael’s
open is a moral issue,” said the Rev. Ronald Slaughter, the pastor
of St. James AME Church in Newark, who has been leading and organizing
the effort among the clergy.
“We have been raising our voices together in an effort to speak for
those who can’t speak loud enough for themselves,” Slaughter
said. “The underserved, underprivileged, and marginalized citizens
of our community are entitled to the same health care as the rich.”
Unions that represent workers at the hospital are also supporting the
sale of Saint Michael’s to Prime.
“Saint Michael's is home to more than 1,400 workers, and has
served its community for nearly 150 years,” said Sue Cleary, District
1199J President. “At a time when Newark is growing, how can we think
of closing yet another hospital in the city? It's unconscionable,
and we stand united in saying we will not accept one more hospital closure.”
About 900 of Saint Michael’s employees are members of one of four
unions while 300 are Newark residents and 700 reside in Essex County.
“Our message is clear, our goal is steadfast—approve the sale
of Saint Michael's so we can keep our hospital open, save our jobs,
and maintain healthcare for the residents of Newark,” said Douglas
A. Placa, executive
director for JNESO District Council 1.
study by Saint Michael’s found that recommendations proposed by an outside
consulting firm for the Christie administration would create a monopoly
in inpatient hospital services in the Newark area, potentially causing
price increases amounting to as much as $180 million annually. Additionally,
the recommendations would expose New Jersey taxpayers to $50 million in
“I have been treating patients at Saint Michael's for 27 years,
and like many of the physicians at Saint Michael's, I choose to practice
medicine here,” said Alan Klukowicz, M.D., president of medical
staff at Saint Michael’s. “If Saint Michael's closes,
we will have no choice, nor will the thousands of Newark residents. This
can only lead to lower quality and higher costs of healthcare, which would
devastate our community."
Prime Healthcare has saved 29 hospitals and 35,000 jobs in nine states
nationwide and has never closed a hospital it has acquired. The company
has agreed to keep Saint Michael’s open as an acute-care hospital,
hire all current employees, invest $25 million into upgrading Saint Michael’s
facilities, technology, and other hospital areas continue to operate within
the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs), and continue Charity Care
“With a committed partner, there is no reason to hold up the sale
of Saint Michael’s any longer,” said David A. Ricci, president
and CEO, Saint Michael’s Medical Center. “We are asking for
the state’s expedient approval to preserve our ministry.”
The Newark City Council, Belleville Township Council and the Essex County
Freeholder Board have all passed resolutions supporting the hospital.
About Saint Michael’s Medical Center
Established by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in 1867, Saint Michael’s
is a 357-bed
regional tertiary-care, teaching, and research center in the heart of
Newark’s business and educational district. Saint Michael’s
Medical Center is currently a member of Trinity Health.Learn more atwww.smmcnj.org.
About Prime Healthcare
Prime Healthcare is a national hospital system with 34 acute-care hospitals
providing more than 35,000 jobs in 11 states. Based in California and
one of the largest hospital systems in the country, Prime Healthcare is
committed to ensuring access to quality healthcare. Learn more at