IMPACT: Hudson hospitals learn to adapt to a changing health care market

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Jersey City Medical Center is the county's designated trauma center.
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Hudson Regional is rebranding
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Bayonne Medical Center was the first facility acquired by CarePoint Health.
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Hoboken's former St. Mary's hospital was renamed by CarePoint Health as Hoboken University Medical Center.
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Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center (HMHP) on River Road in North Bergen was previously known as Palisades Medical Center.
  1 / 5 
Jersey City Medical Center is the county's designated trauma center.
  2 / 5 
Hudson Regional is rebranding
  3 / 5 
Bayonne Medical Center was the first facility acquired by CarePoint Health.
  4 / 5 
Hoboken's former St. Mary's hospital was renamed by CarePoint Health as Hoboken University Medical Center.
  5 / 5 
Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center (HMHP) on River Road in North Bergen was previously known as Palisades Medical Center.

For Hudson County hospitals, survival in the current market means adapting to new conditions – not just expanding, but focusing on the inpatient and out-patient services that are most needed, and forging relationships with regional medical and educational institutions.

Hudson County is serviced by four hospital networks: Jersey City Medical Center and its newly-established smaller facilities; CarePoint Health, operating three hospitals and numerous affiliated medical practices; Hackensack Meridian Health/Palisades Medical Center (formerly Palisades Medical Center) in North Bergen, and Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus.

Each of these networks has its own particular focus and vision of healthcare.

RWJ Barnabas Health Jersey City Medical Center

Jersey City Medical Center, located primarily on Montgomery Street in Jersey City, has begun aggressive expansion through satellite sites. This includes expansion to the former Greenville Hospital on Kennedy Boulevard and a facility on Broadway in Bayonne, and to new sites such as a medical building on Pavonia Avenue near Journal Square. Expansion is planned to future sites in Jersey City Heights and the waterfront.

JCMC is also cementing ties with federally-qualified operations like the North Hudson Community Action site on Palisades Avenue and Metropolitan Healthcare on Garfield Avenue.

JCMC is also expanding its main campus on Montgomery Street to include larger emergency and operating rooms and a new maternity ward.

Michael Prilutsky, who became CEO in late October, said JCMC is focusing on what he called “pillars of medical care.” One of these is quality of service and safety. JCMC has had zero mortality in its cardiac medicine practice, and has been certified for its hip and knee practices as centers of excellence. JCMC is also trying to reduce the number of readmissions.

JCMC has been recertified as a magnet facility for nursing, which helps attract top talent.

Prilutsky said the hospital is deeply involved in consumer engagement, believing that the better informed patients and family members are the better their outcomes.

Early in 2020, JCMC expects to tie in record keeping in areas like clinical care with administrative record keeping.

“We’re going into providing access to primary healthcare in a big way,” he said.

The Bayonne emergency room is being expanded, as are services at Greenville Hospital, which will also have a new pharmacy. JCMC has recently rented property along the waterfront and in Jersey City Heights.

“We’re also working with the city to provide wrap around services for seniors, such as in diet and screenings,” he said.

Other improvements include advances in ambulatory surgery as well as the purchase of new endoscopy equipment that will allow the hospital to provide high quality colonoscopies.

A recent agreement with Rutgers University is expected to bring even more expertise to JCMC.

“We will become a teaching facility and will have access to their doctors, teachers and students,” he said. “Rutgers is also tied to the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. One of our prime goals is to provide the same level of cancer treatment here in Hudson County as you can get in New York City.”

CarePoint Health

CarePoint Health, a for-profit, operates Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC), Bayonne Medical Center, and Christ Hospital in Jersey City, and numerous affiliated neighborhood health centers.

This last year, CarePoint Health appointed a new CEO, Dr. Natasha Deckmann.

CarePont Health Medical Group offers a full range of physicians from OB/GYN and pediatric to geriatric, and palliative care with a variety of specialties.

CarePoint recently implemented new technologies such as telemedicine for follow up ED visits and artificial intelligence for stroke detection.

CarePoint’s Christ Hospital and HUMC Medical Center provide robotic surgery and this year achieved the first same-day hip replacement procedure. Robotic surgery is conducted at Christ Hospital and HUMC. It is used to perform a variety of surgeries. Recently, Christ Hospital announced its 1,000th robotic surgery.

CarePoint has also instituted 3D mammograms for its patients, allowing clinicians to see all around and between the breast tissues enabling accurate analysis and detection of possible abnormalities, allowing for earlier treatment of cancer.

The emergency rooms in all three hospitals now use artificial intelligence for stroke detection.

Last year, CarePoint unveiled Impella surgery at Christ Hospital, a minimally invasive cardiac procedure employing the world’s smallest heart pump.

HUMC has Family Birth Units that include private rooms and a wide range of amenities supporting women and their families during childbirth. The Institute for Women’s Health at HUMC offers services from various providers with unique expertise in the treatment of endometriosis, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, post-pregnancy pelvic problems, infertility and more.

The Anaka Prakash Endoscopy Unit of Bayonne Medical Center has been recognized for delivering high-quality patient care by the American Society of Gastroenterology.

BMC is the only hyperbaric wound care center offers patients complex wound care services for both the local community as well as the county.

BMC also operates a Radiation Oncology Center, treating a variety of cancers using advanced technology.

Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center (HMHP) on River Road in North Bergen was previously known as Palisades Medical Center. It is a 202-bed hospital affiliated with the Hackensack Meridian Health Network and the Harborage, a 247-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center.

HMHP is part of a network of 17 hospitals, including academic medical centers, children’s hospitals and community hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, and a behavioral health hospital, and numerous patient care sites and physician offices.

In January, John C. Meditz, a lifelong resident of Hudson County, donated $10 million to enhance and expanding the Palisades Medical Center Emergency Department. Meditz’s contribution is the largest gift in the history of Palisades Medical Center.

Earlier this year, Hackensack Meridian received an Environmental Excellence Award, the most prestigious environmental achievement for health care.

HMHPC also opened a multi-specialty office suite and breast center on waterfront this year.

Over the last several years, Hackensack Meridian as been seeking to upgrade its nursing staff status and to expand its community outreach program. Recently its nursing staff received Magnet recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In April, HMHP hired Professional Research Consultants of Omaha, Nebraska to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment. The project consists of gathering information about the health status of area residents through a telephone survey, the result of which will be combined into a Community Report, due to be published by the end of 2019.

Hudson Regional Hospital (formerly Meadowlands)

Hudson Regional Hospital has undergone massive changes since being taken over by new management early in 2018. Some of the changes are obvious, such as a new front desk, the opening of a robotic surgery center, and improvements in waiting areas that include a new café.

But many of the changes, according Chief Executive Officer Dr. Nizar Kifaieh, are less obvious than these cosmetic changes to rebrand the Secaucus-based hospital that most officials in 2017 thought of as struggling.

“We knew we needed to do a face lift,” Kifaieh said. “This includes investments in the lobby, and creating a cozy atmosphere.”

He said the idea is to reshape the public perception of the hospital, and by providing the obvious changes, people will have confidence in the more expanded services as well

Many of the changes include expansion of OGBYN services, spine surgery and orthopedic, and an effort to bring back physicians who left under the previous management, and to attract new talent from the region to practice medicine here.

“This is providing us with higher skill in surgery and other areas,” he said.

The hospital was purchased in January 2018 by real-estate developer Yan Moshe, owner of Excel Surgery Center in Hackensack, with the promise to maintain the hospital as an acute care facility. He is expected to invest at least $3 million in upgrades within the first five years.

Much of that investment has already transpired with the addition of such programs as DaVinci Robotic Surgery, two new bariatric programs, and additions to children’s medicine.

The hospital has also added 3D mammography machine as part of its women’s services.

“We do a lot of spine surgery,” he said.

The hospital has also established a wound center, waiting for final approval from the state, that employs Healogics, a company that specialized in wound healing.

The hospital is also advancing its limb-saving program and programs for treatment of diabetes, and ulcers.

The internal radiology program uses technology available to only one or two other hospitals in the state.

The changes also include clinical changes and upgrades to the maternity wing, including improvements to the delivery room.

But building confidence in the hospital also involves significant outreach to the community, which he said the hospital has been engaged in from the day new owners took over.

“We are paying close attention to all aspects of the hospital and its services,” he said.

The hospital also realizes that some of its patients come from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds, which the hospital will need to be aware of when providing services.