“The only thing permanent is change”, wrote the ancient Greek, Heraclitus, and two of our Meadowlands Regional Chamber member hospitals are most certainly giving living expression to that sentiment. Hackensack University Health Network (HUHN), parent company of Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), and Palisades Medical Center (PMC) joined hands in a clinical affiliation about three years ago. But just this past Spring the affiliation morphed into a partnership.
One of the great Robber Barons of the American industrial ascendancy, J. P. Morgan enjoyed saying, ”I like a little competition but I like a little combination better.”
In that spirit, Hackensack University Health Network signed a definitive agreement with Palisades Medical Center to make it a part of its expanding network.
“We are proud to sign this definitive agreement with Palisades Medical Center,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of HUHN. “We have been fortunate to partner with Palisades since 2012 through a successful clinical affiliation. Working together, we have enhanced and expanded the award-winning programs provided at Palisades and we will continue to do so. I am grateful for the leadership of Palisades’ CEO, Bruce Markowitz, and Theresa De Leon, chairwoman of the board, for their partnership and vision.”
As a result, Palisades Medical Center will be known as HackensackUMC Palisades, taking its place as a full member of the Hackensack University Health Network, greatly benefitting and expanding services to the Hudson County region.
“The definitive agreement with the Hackensack University Health Network signifies a meaningful evolution of progress for Palisades Medical Center,” said Bruce J. Markowitz, president of PMC. “Most importantly, this relationship provides tremendous benefits to our patients as they will have access to exceptional specialty services at the local level, in their own backyard. We are very proud to partner with the leading healthcare organization in the region.”
The John Theurer Cancer Center at Palisades
Hackensack University Medical Center recently opened the John Theurer Cancer Center at Palisades Medical Center, a new 9,600-square-foot outpatient facility overlooking the Hudson River and New York City skyline. There, patients will receive the same world class cancer care that has long been available in Hackensack. Ranked the top cancer center in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report for four consecutive years and among the top three in the New York metro area, this facility gives Palisades’ patients access to the best diagnostic and treatment technologies and the opportunity to enroll in over 200 clinical trials.
“We now offer the highest quality cancer care to the Palisades community,” said Markowitz.
HakensackUMC Palisades has been widely recognized for its contributions this past year. Inside Jersey magazine and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. ranked it among the Top Hospitals in New Jersey and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognized it with their “Get With The Guidelines® Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award” for their treatment of heart failure and stroke patients. In addition, Modern Healthcare designated it among the “Best Places To Work in Healthcare” in that it empowers employees to perform at their optimum level to provide patients and customers with the best possible care.
Its new 57,000-square-foot Medical Office Building provides state-of-the-art ambulatory and specialty care services. It houses a dialysis center; the new cancer Center; an Ambulatory Center for endoscopy, cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopedics; and multi-specialty physician practices from HUMC.
Ever true to its roots as a nonprofit community hospital, PMC also has expanded its already-extensive outreach programs designed to improve the health and access to care for everyone in their community.
3,500 uninsured and underinsured residents received free health screenings, including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart rate, body mass index/BMI, peak flow and pulse oximetry. 1,200 residents learned directly from medical experts about key health topics, including obesity and nutrition, pain management, smoking cessation, diabetes, podiatry and women’s health issues, such as breast cancer. And finally, it participated in 88 community health fairs.
Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center
For its part, Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (MHMC) is celebrating the enhancements to its state of the art emergency room (ER). They recently instituted a program that will ensure every ER patient is seen by a nurse within five minutes of arrival and by an ER physician within 15 minutes of arrival. This means that patients can be evaluated and move on to the next stage of treatment or discharge within a couple of hours, rather than the traditionally long ER waits of so many other hospitals.
The hospital has made significant investments in information technology in recent years, especially within the ER. The ER is fully digital and paperless, providing for real-time tracking of patients, their treatments and test results. As a result, they can keep patients and families up to date with the most current medical information.
With their technologically-advanced diagnostic imaging and laboratory services, their ER team ensures patients that they will receive appropriate tests from the onset. This adds an additional level of efficiency in diagnosis and treatment.
Utilizing state-of-art equipment, including some of the newest and most modern ambulances in the region, the MHMC EMS team exceeds patient expectations for medical transportation. MHMC also offers a Specialty Care Transport Unit (SCTU), a specialized ambulance staffed by highly trained registered nurses (RN) and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). It provides transport between medical facilities for critically-ill patients.
Hackensack University Medical Center likes the fast lane
It’s difficult to include HUMC or HUHN in an article like this—because what you really ought to be doing is writing is a book.
Besides all that they have achieved in cooperation with Palisades, three other major developments were fulfilled when they announced partnerships with Meridian Health, Seton Hall University (SHU) and, just this past month, a new clinical affiliation with Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.
Meridian Health partnership
Meridian Health recently joined hands with HUHN in a definitive agreement to merge and become Hackensack Meridian Health. The agreement followed seven months of due diligence, but the merger still requires state and federal regulatory clearance—which both health systems expect within the next nine to 12 months.
“Hackensack University Health Network is pleased to partner with Meridian Health in this historic merger,” said Garrett, president of HUHN. “From the beginning, both organizations knew we wanted to do the right thing for the people of New Jersey. Hackensack Meridian Health will truly elevate the level of healthcare provided throughout much of New Jersey by creating the state’s most comprehensive healthcare system.”
The combined entity will include 11 hospitals: Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune; Ocean Medical Center, Brick; Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank; Southern Ocean Medical Center, Manahawkin; Bayshore Community Hospital, Holmdel; Raritan Bay Medical Center, Old Bridge; Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy; Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack; HackensackUMC Mountainside, Montclair; HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley, Westwood; and HackensackUMC Palisades, North Bergen; and, two children’s hospitals: K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune and Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack.
The combined entity will employ approximately 25,000 team members and nearly 6,000 physicians.
Seton Hall University & a new medical school
Just a few months ago, HUHN and SHU announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding to form a new, four-year private school of medicine. The school intends to locate on the campus of the former Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche), a state-of-the-art biomedical facility, in Nutley and Clifton.
Establishing a school of medicine with the backing of two esteemed institutions will, they believe, attract the best and brightest to the field of medicine in New Jersey and help curb the critical physician shortage that the state and the nation currently face.
By 2020, it is estimated that there will be a shortage of 2,500 physicians in the Garden State. HackensackUHN and SHU’s joint venture to create a premier academic institution will help combat the physician shortage by providing key educational, research and career opportunities to incentivize the next generation to pursue a career in medicine.
“We are excited to be taking this next step with Seton Hall University. Our academic reputations, combined with our clinical expertise, will guarantee the establishment of a world-class academic institution in the Garden State,” said Garrett. “New Jersey has long been known as a home to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and it is imperative we continue to support our future workforce through a premier school of medicine.”
“Seton Hall University has always been committed to academic excellence and servant leadership,” said Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, president of SHU. “As a Catholic university with strong programs in the sciences, nursing, health and medical sciences, and health law, we are perfectly poised to create a school of medicine that will educate talented people in the diverse fields of healthcare.”
Englewood Hospital Medical Center affiliation
Then, there is Englewood Hospital and Medical Center (EHMC) which has entered into a new clinical and academic affiliation with HUHN. They will become a member of HUHN, which will enable EHMC to cost-effectively implement an upgrade of information technology systems, including its electronic medical record (EMR) system. Membership also will connect EHMC to a growing consortium of hospitals and hospital networks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including HackensackUHN—with opportunities to offer services at significantly lower costs.
In an earlier clinical alliance, EHMC and HackensackUHN agreed to create a regional cardiac surgery program, anticipated to become one of the largest such programs in Northern New Jersey, and serving as a national model for collaborative care. Both systems already boast award-winning heart surgery outcomes that rival any in the tri-state area. The combined service will further drive outstanding quality as well as improved access to cardiac surgical services for patients in the region.
Unsurprisingly, in closing, there is one telling note of interest and excellence. Garrett has been ranked as “The Most Powerful Healthcare Leader” on NJBIZ’s “Power 50 Health Care” list.
In simply reading the above, you certainly know why both he and the organization he serves boldly go forward.
By Rich Fritzky, retired President & CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber and founding editor of Meadowlands USA