Urban hospitals often face economic challenges and to succeed they need to be innovative and creative in meeting those challenges. The right solutions take hard work, collaboration and must provide clear benefit to the community. Bayonne Medical Center’s strategy, discussed in the recent Al Sullivan article in the Hudson Reporter “Fighting the Good Fight,” and in a recent New York Times article “New Jersey Hospital Has Highest Billing Rates in the Nation,” meets the short- term financial goal for its owners and has moved its bottom line from bankruptcy to profit. However, not working collaboratively with all elements of the health care infrastructure and forcing higher insurance payments is not only poor public policy but, despite the rhetoric, is not the only solution available.
Six years ago, Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) was also losing money caring for our diverse Hudson County community. This community asset and not-for-profit regional trauma center, neonatal center and tertiary care hospital, which provides the greatest proportion of charity care in the county, and the third largest charity care provider in the state, made other choices and is now fiscally sound and growing yearly. Through thoughtful cost cutting, effective negotiations with insurance companies, developing new models of care and services, partnering and recruiting new medical staff with an eye towards value and quality and doing the hard work of truly listening to the community, JCMC succeeds and will for the long-term.
And this success comes without compromise. JCMC is the only Hudson County hospital to receive three consecutive A’s for safety from the national Leapfrog survey. Unlike Bayonne Medical Center’s recent CMS designation as one of the costliest hospitals in the country, JCMC charges make up the lowest third nationally. In addition, JCMC is a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence, top regional hospital as rated US News & World Report and is voted one of the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine and Becker’s Hospital Review.
So what is the best solution for Hudson County? As the president and CEO of Jersey City Medical Center I am confident we are doing the right things for the right reasons. For my fellow hospital executives, regardless of for-profit or not-for-profit business models, I would only ask that as you strive to succeed, and you stay transparent so that the funders, community and government can follow those dollars and be sure they are being used for the community benefit that is part of all our missions. We have all pledged to work towards a healthier tomorrow and the decisions we make today are the steps we take to honor that pledge. Jersey City Medical Center will always invest any surplus back into facility, operations and programs and is here for patients, not for profit.
By being transparent the Jersey City Medical Center will be here for the long-term. As a not-for- profit organization we promise to serve our community with the best possible, most affordable care by working together.
Joseph F. Scott, FACHE – President and CEO