Faced with increasing competition and the escalating costs of health care, Hudson County hospitals have sought to establish connections with each other and with hospital systems throughout the area that will increase services to their clients.
Faced with increasing competition and the escalating costs of health care, Hudson County hospitals have sought to establish connections with each other and with hospital systems throughout the area that will increase services to their clients. Over the last year, the hospitals have undergone significant changes, bolstering their claim to an ever-growing amount of resources. The hospitals also have sought to reach into the community, providing alternative sites that will allow greater parts of the population to access them.
Liberty HealthCare System
Liberty HealthCare System, Inc.'s network of hospitals in Hudson County includes the Jersey City Medical Center and Greenville Hospital in Jersey City and the Meadowlands Medical Center in Secaucus.
The 400-bed Jersey City Medical Center is the region's emergency services provider and a teaching affiliate of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Greenville Hospital is a 100-bed community hospital providing personalized acute and ambulatory care. Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center is a 200-bed community hospital serving North Hudson and the Meadowlands region.
During 1999, Liberty continued to expand and enhance its integrated service. In September, Liberty opened a new outpatient center for treatment of chronic, non-healing wounds. Liberty also instituted several changes in the way it serves its member facility. Liberty Radiology - which formerly served only JCMC - will now serve all of Liberty's hospitals. Food services for all three hospitals will be done out of the kitchens of JCMC, which now has an expanded menu.
In 1999, the Liberty Wellness Center - specializing in breast care - became fully operational. Liberty also expanded its access to top physicians with an agreement in July that allowed the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to assumed responsibility for elective and neurosurgical services at JCMC. Also in July, JCMC integrated its Emergency Medicine Department into the Department of Emergency Medicine of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. In conjunction with these changes, JCMC also expanded and enhanced its emergency room facilities.
JCMC is expected to receive approval for funding this spring that will allow it to break ground on a new hospital building in the fall. When construction is completed, the old hospital, built in the 1930s, will be closed.
The new facility will be located at the intersection of Jersey and Grand streets in Jersey City. This facility and the Liberty-operated Jersey City Family Health Center on Garfield Avenue will both have stops on the light rail. Hospital officials expect this to increase the number of patients.
In the last year, JCMC acquired a new Magnetic Recognizance Imaging (MRI) machine, giving quick, high resolution images as a diagnostic tool for a variety of ailments. Last year, JCMC's Behavior Health Center served 772 patients at its adult detoxification unit, the only center of its kind in the county.
Along with Meadowlands Hospital, JCMC received full accreditation from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations in 1999, and JCMC became a member of the Biomedical Research Alliance of New York.
JCMC is in the process of expanding cardiac and cancer care. In early 1999, JCMC won state approval to implement an Open Heart Surgery Program, which will be part of a comprehensive New Jersey Heart Institute capable of providing a wide range of diagnostic, therapeutic and interventional services.
The hospital also received a four-year accreditation for its Teaching Hospital Cancer Program from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Certification.
Mount Sinai and Liberty are planning a comprehensive Oncology Institute at JCMC that will enhance the cancer treatment program with leading-edge diagnostic and other treatment tools.
JCMC is still seeking to expand its adult Closed Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Unit, but is awaiting approval from the state.
Liberty Rehabilitation Institute is expected to open an outpatient program at the Haborside Financial Center on the Jersey City waterfront in 2000. LRI currently has an inpatient program at Meadowlands Hospital.
Meadowlands Hospital's Catheterization Laboratory received its re-licensing approval in 1999 from the N.J. Department of Health. The hospital also initiated a new treatment for damaged spinal disks at its Pain Management Center. Also, the hospital's exterior was refurbished using a grant underwritten by the Liberty HealthCare system foundation, and the hospital upgraded its Intensive Care and Critical Units with more than $500 million invested in new patient monitoring technology.
Greenville hospital has recently moved into its third phase of renovation. The next areas of reconstruction will be the main lobby and the Intensive Care Unit. One initiative planned for Greenville Hospital in the upcoming year is the addition of new technology to treat patients with gastrointestinal illnesses.
Among the most significant changes at Christ Hospital in Jersey City in the last year has been the recent naming of a new president and chief executive officer.
Francis Cronin of Sea Girt comes to the hospital with more than 28 years of experience in health system development and strategic planning, with a particular expertise in managed care contracting, physician-hospital affiliations, physician group practice development and re-engineering.
Christ Hospital is an acute care facility that was founded in 1872 by the Episcopal church. Its medical team consists of 450 doctors with specialties ranging from allergies to vascular surgery.
This year, the hospital firmed up its commitment to support cancer treatment with a fundraiser to help purchase a radiation computer system. The unit was installed in April and provides three-dimensional image to detect and diagnose cancerous tumors at the earliest possible stages.
"This ROCS has put Christ Hospital in the forefront of fighting cancer," said Alan Shaiman, M.D., director of Radiation Oncology. "Since acquiring this equipment, we have not only helped our own patients, but have also assisted other patients referred to us from such prestigious medical centers as memorial Sloan Kettering."
The hospital's home care department has upgraded its technology through funds provided by The Christ Hospital Foundation. Through the use of a new computer system, nurses, physical and occupational therapists and social workers in the department can not enter information pertaining to each patient visit via an optical scanner. The hospital also received a technology donation this year that would allow newborn infants to be screened for hearing deficiencies.
In attention to this, the Abercrombie Guild - a 123-year-old group offering support for the hospital - has donated security equipment for the maternity and nursery areas of the hospital to prevent potential kidnapping.
St. Mary and St. Francis hospitals
St. Mary Hospital of Hoboken, St. Francis Hospital of Jersey City and the Franciscan Home and Rehabilitation Center started the new year with a new partnership and a name change when they officially became the Bon Secours New Jersey Health System (BSNJHS). The new BSNJHS becomes the eighth largest Catholic health care organization in the United States.
While continuing to treat diseases such ad diabetes, overactive thyroids and stunted growth in St. Mary's Center for Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders, the hospital's Center for Asthma and Allergies at the Center for Family Health began this year offering relief to people with breathing difficulties. St. Mary Hospital is a 328-bed acute care medical/surgical hospital in Hoboken. The newly-renovated Center for Cardiac Rehabilitation now offers state-of-the-art help to at-risk patients or those recovering from heart disease through customized exercise and nutrition programs. The Maternity Suites is slated for a million-dollar renovation this year. The Pain Management Center at St. Mary Hospital and its sister facility at St. Francis Hospital are using new technologies, medicines and other means to help manage people afflicted with chronic pain. In 2000, St. Mary Hospital is expected to open its new Community Mental Health Center as well as a new Emergency Room and parking garage.
At St. Francis Hospital, a 238-bed acute care medical surgical hospital in Jersey City, the Osteopathic Family Practice Residency Program began training new doctors in July. With the opening of Family Practice Associates at the hospital, these osteopathic residents will be able to practice their medicine in an on-site family practice environment. The Franciscan Home and Rehabilitation Center expanded its adult day care service into the Bon Secours Health and Social Center with a partial-care program at St. Francis Hospital for seniors suffering from depression.
The most significant change at Palisades Hospital in 1999 was its becoming a corporately sponsored member of the New York Presbyterian Healthcare Network. The medical center, which serves southern Bergen County and northern Hudson County, is made up of a 202-bed acute-care facility and The Harborage, a 239-bed skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and assisted-living facility.
As a corporately sponsored member, Palisades Medical Center will maintain its autonomy while having a strong long-term relationship with the NYP Healthcare Network that is more extensive than a simple
affiliation. Three representatives of the New York Presbyterian Healthcare System will join the 21-member Palisades board. The relationship gives Palisades access to specialists and academic programs at New York Presbyterian, which, in turn, will acquire new acute-care referrals from Palisades.
Palisades also is in the process of constructing a new medical office building just over the Bergen County border in Edgewater. Space will be dedicated to sports medicine, neurological challenges brought about by stroke, Parkinson's Disease, orthopedic injuries, chronic arthritis, and pulmonary conditions. Dr. Lou Bigliani, a shoulder specialist who helped restore the pitching arm of New York Yankee David Cone, will chair the department.
Among the accomplishments over the last year, Palisades recently completed renovation of its last inpatient unit, and starting the new year, Palisades introduced its Fitness and Wellness Center, a partnership between Palisades Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. The 20,000 square foot facility is outfitted with up-to-date fitness and cardiovascular equipment, rooms for aerobics and exercise and other activities, a health education classroom, locker rooms and a sauna. David Berkowitz , vice president at Palisades, said the center will address the needs of those already physically, those seeking to become physically fit, and those who might be recovering from an ailment or surgery requiring physical therapy.
In March, the hospital is scheduled to start construction on $4.3 million maternity and ontology center,, a 20-bed birthing facility that will allow a woman to go through labor, birth and recovery in the same room.
Bayonne Health Care System
Fiscal pressures made 1999 a tough year for Bayonne Health Care System, but collaboration by the staff made it also a year of accomplishment.
During 1999, said Michael R. D'Agnes, president of the Bayonne Health Care System, existing programs experience increased patient volume and elevated numbers for diagnostic treatment. In the fall of 1999, Bayonne Hospital received reaccredidation with several areas recognized by local and national organizations for their high-caliber care. During the year, 27 new physicians joined the staff.
The Bayonne Hospital School of Nursing signed an official letter of agreement with the Hudson County Community College to create a cooperative nursing program. The hospital also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishing of the Hudson Area School of Radiologic Technology, a cooperative education program with Christ Hospital in Jersey City.
Over the last year, Bayonne Behavioral Health, a drug and alcohol treatment center, expanded its programs and initiated several community outreach programs including workshops. BBH hired a community liaison to generate interest and awareness of mental health issues within the community and a director of its addition services to expand this program. Bayonne Behavioral Health also began collaboration with the Bayonne Board of Education to provide on-site psychiatric evaluations and consultations.
The Bayonne Health Care Foundation succeeded in achieving its goals for 1999, including the selection of a new executive vice president to lead its fundraising efforts, and the appointment of several new board members to help develop new ways of raising funds, something the foundation intends to continue more aggressively in the upcoming year.
Bayonne Hospital for the year 2000 is investigating several initiatives that will provide greater access to its programs. The Department of Emergency Services is being redesigned. The hospital is finalizing plans to open a 21-station off-site outpatient renal facility and is evaluating the feasibility of opening an acute rehabilitation unit.