The new partnership will operate St. Mary Hospital and FAITH Services in Hoboken, and Jersey City's Christ Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, the Franciscan Home & Rehabilitation Center, and both the Christ Hospital and St. Francis Schools of Nursing.
All the facilities will retain their names.
The Partnership for Care unites the county's two faith-based health systems and now represents the blending of three religious traditions - Episcopal, Catholic and Jewish. (The Jewish Home and Rehabilitation Center transferred sponsorship in 1998). Each tradition will be respected and maintained within the new health system.
Frank L. Fekete, a CPA with offices in Jersey City who was vice chair of Christ Hospital's Board of Trustees, chaired the Collaboration Committee and has been elected chair of the new Board of Trustees. Robert S. Chaloner, CEO of the Bon Secours New Jersey Health System since 1997, has been named chief executive officer.
In a joint statement, Fekete and long-term BSNJHS Board Chair Peter Murphy said, "Like our counterparts in other areas of New Jersey, Christ Hospital, St. Mary Hospital and St. Francis Hospital have felt the effects of Medicare cutbacks, the rising costs of providing charity care and uncertain reimbursements from managed care corporations. This partnership significantly strengthens our institutions and allows us to continue our mission - providing high-quality, compassionate health care services for the Hudson County community."
The Rev. John P. Croneberger, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, added, "While great strides have taken place in delivering health care over the years, Christ Hospital's primary objective has remained unchanged - to respond to the health care needs of our community. For over 125 years, Christ Hospital has worked hard to meet that goal. We are proud of our rich history and look forward to our new partnership with Bon Secours as we plan for the challenges of tomorrow."
The partnership will be managed by the Bon Secours Health System, which has its headquarters in Marriottsville, Md. and now consists of more than 28,000 caregivers helping people in more than 100 acute, long-term care, ambulatory, assisted living and local health facilities in 14 communities in nine states.
Sister Patricia A. Eck, chair of the Bon Secours Health System Board of Directors, said, "In 1824, our founding Sisters went out into the community to serve the sick and the dying. Since then, we have continued to be in the communities responding to needs in very creative ways. I think our partnership with Christ Hospital is exactly like that - going into the community, being part of the community and responding in a very creative way."
"The founding organizations have been doing important work in Hudson County for 150 years and have enjoyed great support from the community for the missions they have served," stated Christopher Carney, president and CEO of the Bon Secours Health System. "We are very excited about working with this community and the great people we have here in governance, the medical staffs, the employees and the volunteers. These are the people who worked hard to bring us to this important event today."
The partnership plans to improve community health care include strengthening current clinical offerings, expanding outpatient offerings and consolidating and relocating some services.
"Our plans for the new partnership are in accord with the State Health Plan, which concluded that Hudson County had far too many acute care beds and too few services for its increasing geriatric population," said Chaloner.
Inpatient and outpatient services will be strengthened at both Christ and St. Mary Hospitals, where service delivery will be improved by concentrating expert staff in single "centers of excellence." Chaloner said, "We are also very excited that after the state has completed its review, we will have the opportunity to transform St. Francis for a new future as an integral part of our health system. By shifting away from acute care services, for which there has been a relatively low demand, we will be able to expand the services our community needs now." Chaloner said the partnership's plans call for strengthening its commitment to rehabilitation, eldercare and outpatient services for our community. Along with developing a new, leading edge facility for Franciscan Home & Rehabilitation Center, Chaloner said the newly-renovated complex may also have physicians' offices, outpatient rehabilitation, an adult day care senior assessment center, programs for persons with Alzheimer's, a pain center, wound care, a vision center, dental services, ambulatory and other services.
Courtesy transportation services now offered by all the facilities will be continued and integrated to ensure convenience for patients and staff and allow patients easy access between the facilities.
The plans reflect a national trend of declining demands for inpatient care and increasing need for outpatient and post-acute services. However, before the plan can be implemented, a certificate of need must be obtained from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. The state's approval process is expected to take several months.
Physicians on medical staffs at any of the facilities will be able to practice at all of the facilities based upon privileges approved by the partnership.
Since both Christ and St. Francis hospitals operate schools of nursing affiliated with the Hudson County Community College, these may be combined for efficiency and convenience of students.
Residency programs at St. Francis and St. Mary, affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, are expected to continue with residents now having access to experience and education in an additional facility.
The new Bon Secours & Canterbury Partnership for Care currently has 3,236 employees, 1,024 physicians and 958 licensed inpatient beds, as well as 183 long-term care beds. In 2000, the three hospitals served a total of 28,752 inpatients.