City of Newark and Catholic Health East Announce Continuing Health-care Services at Saint James Campus
24-Hour Satellite Emergency Department and Non-acute Services Will Continue
NEWARK, N.J. (February 27, 2008) — Mayor Cory A. Booker announced today that when the Saint James Hospital closes its acute-care services on March 15, 24-hour emergency care and non-acute health care services will continue to be offered at the campus. This move follows the recommendations of a Steering Committee created by the City, state legislators, and hospital operator Catholic Health East to identify and address community needs and concerns about the pending service cutbacks at the hospital and Columbus Hospital in the North Ward.
At the conference, held at the Portuguese Social Club at 51-55 Prospect Street in the East Ward, Mayor Booker, East Ward Council Member Augusto Amador, Child and Family Well-Being Director Maria Vizcarrondo, representatives of Catholic Health East, and members of the Steering Committee announced that a satellite 24-hour emergency department would be established at the site, and a number of non-acute health care services would continue at the campus.
The announcement of this initiative came after the Steering Committee, which included Mayor Booker, Council Member Amador, State Assemblyman Albert Coutinho, community residents, and CHE leadership, held public meetings with the affected North and East Ward neighborhoods. Based on community input, the committee made specific recommendations about the continuation, enhancement, and creation of non-acute care services at the Saint James site, based on the specific needs of the Ironbound community.
“As it has so many times in the past, the great City of Newark has been faced with a major challenge that tests its strength, its resolve, and its resiliency. In this case, we are challenged by the impending cutbacks and closures of vital medical services to our community. We have met this challenge by uniting our community and our leadership with Catholic Health East to ensure that these vital medical services will continue,” Mayor Booker said. “I am pleased to report today that while we will see cutbacks at Saint James Hospital, we will also see a continuing commitment to quality health care in the East Ward, and greater unity between the community and its health care provider. We are working together on this problem, not against each other, and in doing so, manifesting to the city, state, and world, how challenging issues can become opportunities to achieve greatness.”
Mayor Booker, North Ward Council Member Anibal Ramos, and Council Member Augusto Amador, along with several elected State representatives, approached CHE officials after reviewing the details of the proposed sale of Saint Michael’s Medical Center, Saint James Hospital and Columbus Hospital to Catholic Health East After citing the concerns of citizens regarding the proposed transaction, the two parties agreed to work in partnership to assess community needs in both the Ironbound and North Ward areas, which led to the creation of the Steering Committee.
The 24-hour emergency department at Saint James Hospital will be linked to Saint Michael’s Medical Center. The emergency department will provide basic life support and emergency care, x-ray, ultrasound, and laboratory services. Pre-natal care that connects expectant mothers to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center will also be continued.
Primary care services will be offered at the Saint James Hospital site, including regularly scheduled health screenings for blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other conditions, as well as transportation to Saint Michael’s Medical Center. These include rheumatology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, podiatry, osteopathy, cardiology, asthma, and surgical clinic services.
Diagnostic services, including basic radiology, laboratory, and ultrasound work will continue at Saint. James. Catholic Health East noted that if at least six primary care physicians choose to lease office space at the Saint James Campus, Saint Michael’s Medical Center will provide the additional diagnostic services necessary to support those practices and would then be able to offer additional diagnostic services to the public.
Psychiatric inpatient services will continue at the Saint James Campus while more study is being done to determine whether the campus is the most suitable site for the long-term consolidation of the currently separate behavioral health programs at Saint James Hospital and Saint Michael’s Medical Center. To the extent possible, incumbent personnel will staff these continuing services.
Other services being pursued for implementation at or near the Saint James Campus require the approval of state and federal government agencies. These are a 50-bed Long-Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH) and a Program for the All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE).
A key portion of the agreement is that Catholic Health East will provide financial support, including covering payroll costs, for the Ironbound Ambulance Squad, which will provide scheduling and transportation for health-care, clinic, and emergency services offered at St. Michael’s Medical Center. The squad has provided ambulance services to the community for decades, while battling financial issues.
“During this transition process, it was vital that the voice of the East Ward be heard,” Council Member Amador said. “I am pleased and proud that the community came forward to speak out on this issue, and just as pleased and proud that the Booker administration and Catholic Health East listened to and worked with the community. We are especially grateful to Catholic Health East for empowering the dedicated men and women of the Ironbound Ambulance Squad with the tools they need to continue to save lives.”
Catholic Health East, a multi-institutional Catholic health system co-sponsored by 10 religious congregations and Hope Ministries, is based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Catholic Health East provides the means to ensure the continuation of the Catholic identity and operational strength of the sponsors’ health ministries, which are located in 11 eastern states from Maine to Florida. Catholic Health East has an excellent track record of operating high-quality, financially sound hospitals in urban areas. In New Jersey, other CHE affiliates include St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, and Lourdes Health System, with hospitals in Camden and Willingboro.
Bob Stanek, Catholic Health East’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Catholic Health East is committed to urban health care in New Jersey with ministries in Camden, Willingboro, and Trenton. We look forward to expanding our outreach to the people of Newark. “We are extremely grateful by the reception and cooperation we have received from Mayor Booker, the City officials, and the Ironbound community itself. Specifically, I want to thank Council Member Amador and Assemblyman Alberto Coutinho for their counsel and advice as we develop needed services to support this community.”
The CHE system includes 33 acute-care hospitals,
four long-term acute-care hospitals, 36 freestanding and hospital-based
long-term care facilities, 12 assisted-living facilities, five continuing-care
retirement communities, seven behavioral-health and rehabilitation facilities,
25 home health/hospice agencies, and numerous ambulatory and community-based