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Move over Prime Healthcare, Barnabas Health hopes to buy bankrupt NJ hospital

Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark, N.J., a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Aug. 10, and now the financially troubled facility has two interested buyers, according to an NJ Advance Media report.

The state has been considering the sale of Saint Michael's to Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services since December 2012. The financially distressed hospital is on track to post a $24 million operating loss this year, and it has cited the state's extended consideration of the transaction with Prime as the chief reason for its bankruptcy filing.

While waiting for a decision regarding the deal with Prime, Saint Michael's has attracted a second potential buyer — West Orange, N.J.-based Barnabas Health. An attorney for Barnabas sent a letter to the bankruptcy court Tuesday identifying itself as "a possible bidder and party in interest," according to the report.

Saint Michael's bankruptcy attorney, Michael Sirota, told NJ Advance Media that he finds it "very curious" that Barnabas waited until after the state had been considering the Prime transaction for more than two years to express interest in St. Michael's.

Saint Michael's has asked the bankruptcy judge to set the closing date for selling the hospital for Dec. 8, according to the report.

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