Health Care

Why aren’t more doctors being trained in N.J.? Start with 1996 rule congressional leaders are trying to change

There was the incredible number: The country is expected to have a shortage of 120,000 doctors by the year 2030.

And the incredible local number: New Jersey is expected to be short 2,500 doctors next year.

And then there was the even-harder-to-believe number: Holy Name Medical Center is only allowed to train six medical residents a year, thanks to a regulation based on 1996 statistics.

In that year, Holy Name had just six residents — thus, that is its limit today.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) is looking to change that, proposing what is called the Graduate Medical Education Bill that would allow hospitals to get reimbursement to train as many doctors as they are able.

It’s a way, he said, of tackling the coming physician shortage head-on — improving health care for state residents and the state economy at the same time.

“Our legislation corrects the arbitrary cap, which will help us recruit and retain more talented physicians to help our New Jersey medical community grow,” he said. “It will make graduate medical school slots available to hospitals that have been locked out for decades now and allow hospitals to invest in teaching programs to attract medical students to Jersey and keep our health care workforce competitive.”

Gottheimer, flanked by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) at an event at Holy Name in Teaneck, is confident the GME bill can get through. Menendez and Pascrell said they will use their status in their legislative houses to see that it does.

“It’s just common sense to have more hospitals to have our new doctors train here in New Jersey,” Gottheimer said.

Holy Name CEO Mike Maron agrees. But, he does so knowing that nothing about the current regulations make sense.

Maron, the well-respected health care thought leader, has been stymied by this ruling for years. He points to nearby hospitals to show just how arbitrary the cap is. Simply put, every hospital is capped at the number of residents it had in 1996 — unless the hospital in question didn’t have a program. Those medical centers can add residents at will.

“Palisades General had none in 1996, now they have over 100 residents — and they are getting fully reimbursed, because the rule says if you had zero in ’96, you’re free to go,” he told ROI-NJ. “(Valley Hospital CEO) Audrey Meyers could do this unencumbered tomorrow. She wouldn’t have to do anything special. She could just start it and get paid for it. I can’t.”

All because of something that happened more than two decades ago.

“What happened in 1996 was a (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) regulation,” Maron said. “And, in order to change the regulation, you need new legislation. So, 1996, believe it or not, is the base year for how Medicare reimburses hospitals today across all services.

“The (system) Medicare uses to pay us is based on 1996 practice. Graduate medical education is a component of that system. And, so, what they did is, they just froze it.”

Despite this, most hospitals are not impacted today. Many did not have programs in 1996. Others have since joined greater health care organizations.

“There aren’t many of us left,” Maron said, refereeing to standalone hospitals.

This confusion, he said, caused a previous version of this bill to be presented poorly.

“The (Congressional Budget Office) marked up the bill all wrong,” he said. “I remember the headline: It said this bill would cost more than building a wall. How are you going to get that passed?”

Menendez said he is hopeful the new bill can be attached to upcoming legislation on Medicare.

Maron said it can’t happen soon enough.

He said no one in the state would object, saying more than 300 graduates last year did not have residency programs available. Holy Name, he said, would gladly take them.

And Holy Name already has a bigger partner ready to help provide students and assistance: Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Mount Sinai Chief Medical Officer Ben Kornitzer said the hospital is ready to partner.

“We understand the resources and investment that are needed to be made for this to be a successful program,” he said. “We are 100% committed to working with the excellent leadership here and identifying what those resources are, what those strategies are, so we can be partners and help support further growth of this residency program.”

Maron said new rules — and a new partnership with Mount Sinai — could help change another number: The small percentage of medical graduates who actually want to become the doctors that are needed most: general practitioners.

“Many of the major academic centers want to train specialists because the general perception out there is that there’s more money to be made being a specialist and better work hours,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is dispel that myth.

“We’re going to show doctors that you can have a balanced lifestyle and have a very rewarding career as a primary care physician. We think we can move that needle significantly by exposing them to how we do things here.”

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Atlantic Health, Kindred Healthcare: New hospital in Madison nears completion

A joint venture between Atlantic Health System and Kindred Healthcare announced on Tuesday the completion of Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, a new, inpatient rehabilitation hospital located in Madison.

The $24 million, two-story, 38-bed hospital is the first standalone hospital to be built from the ground-up by Atlantic Health, it said. The hospital is expected to begin accepting patients “in a few weeks” following regulatory approvals, the joint venture said.

The joint venture said the hospital will be located off Route 124 on a 40-acre parcel of Giralda Farms land owned by Atlantic Health. The 46,000-square-foot area will be developed into a campus for health services, they said.

“Joining forces with a nationally recognized leader allows us to expand access to extraordinary rehabilitation services in our communities” said Amy Perry, senior vice president, Integrated Care Delivery, and CEO of Atlantic Health System’s hospital division. “We are proud to partner with Kindred to provide top-caliber patient care in the exceptional healing environment that has been created at Giralda Farms.”

The hospital will have a number of additions and amenities, including a therapeutic courtyard; bionic, assisted moving systems for patients; a gym with ceiling lifts and new equipment; a simulated home space; an ADL Suite; bariatric rooms; a brain injury unit with dedicated gym; private rooms; meeting spaces for families; a putting green; basketball court; and more.

“We are pleased to work with the premier healthcare provider in New Jersey as we address the growing need for inpatient rehabilitation services in the New Jersey and New York area,” Russ Bailey, chief operating officer of Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services-IRF, said. “Atlantic Health System has been a great partner and we look forward to continuing to work with them on this high-quality rehabilitation hospital that will greatly benefit the community.”

“This new hospital gives our team all the tools they need to care better for our patients, and gives patients the setting they need to prepare them to return to their lives,” Joseph Rempson, medical director for the new hospital, said.

The groundbreaking for the facility was held on May 22.

“Mayor Conley and the Madison Borough Council are looking forward to the opening of the new Atlantic Health Rehabilitation Institute,” Carmela Vitale, Madison Borough councilwoman, said. “This state of the art facility will be a tremendous asset to Madison and the greater area community, serving those in need of rehabilitative care.”

The building was designed by Earl Swensson Associates and constructed by Holt Construction.

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N.J.’s new medical marijuana applications enhance market for patients, providers

File photo

John D. Fanburg of Brach Eichler.

The most recent request for proposals by the New Jersey Department of Health‘s Division of Medicinal Marijuana portends not only an enhanced marketplace for both patients and providers, it exhibits the sophistication of Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration fulfilling its mission of creating a mature marijuana market in New Jersey.

The 25 new licenses are also the best opportunity yet for New Jersey entrepreneurs to gain an equal footing with their out-of-state peers in creating successful business plans under the program. The Murphy administration also left itself in a position to control the quality of participants in the program by offering only 25 new licenses, as opposed to the previously discussed 108. If there is a great depth of demand from patients and a population of qualified prospective providers, the administration can always continue to expand the market.

It’s good for business

The last round, which attracted nearly 150 applications for six licenses, definitively eliminated companies without substantial prior experience, which left New Jersey-based applicants out of the running. Now that the largest companies already received licenses, the more than 144 unsuccessful applications from the last round have a head start on this cycle of licensure.

The existing 12 licensed entities required vertically integrated businesses, which disadvantaged local or smaller companies that frequently formed collaborative entities out of necessity to fulfill all the application requirements in previous rounds. This new application process offers 21 opportunities for entrepreneurs to apply for a specialized license, allowing the previous 144 unsuccessful applicants, and many more who were discouraged by the expansiveness of the previous cycle, to apply based on their expertise.

It’s good for consumers

The state will continue to select locations based on serving population centers. With 31 providers (19 new providers in addition to the current 12) throughout the state, anyone with a prescription should be within a half-hour drive, and many people within 10 minutes, increasing access to the estimated 300,000 New Jersey residents who need medical marijuana for chronic issues.

Dispensaries, like coffee shops, have innovative retail concepts and product differentiation. Under the expansion, the marketplace will bloom beyond the cigarette or pipe, which are often less popular options to edibles, vape, edible oils and THC pill form.

More suppliers will lead to more specific strains and better treatment options, as well as, presumably, more advantageous pricing.

How many applications for +/- 40 municipalities?

We expect that the New Jersey Department of Health’s request for applications for the next 25 licenses, due Aug. 22, will generate hundreds of applications.

The complexity is that each of those applicants will need a commitment from a municipality to welcome medical marijuana enterprises, and that is a shrinking rather than an expanding number. Many towns declined to participate in the last round — and opposition to any cannabis at all was solidified as a result of the politicking of the Adult Use (Recreational) Cannabis bills during this spring.

As a result of the six applicants chosen in the last round, the field is that much narrower. Look for only 25 or so municipalities to put out the welcome mat, and, while some will provide blanket endorsements, many of these will have a filtering process before endorsing specific applicants be cited in a dozen or more applications.

John D. Fanburg is managing member; chair, healthcare law; and co-chair, cannabis law, for Brach Eichler.

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CBD solution: Rosenbaum liked how cannabis-derived oil helped her anxiety … so she created her own company

Alexis Rosenbaum had no desire to experience cannabis, she said, until she developed debilitating anxiety in her late 20s. 

“Then, I figured, what have I got to lose?” she said. 

Her experience was positive — so much, in fact, that Rosenbaum, now 32, founded Rosebud CBD in Jersey City last year as a woman-owned and -run provider of cannabidiol, or CBD, oil.

The business has been a stunning success. Rosenbaum, the CEO, said she had more than $1 million in sales in its first year. And she’s not surprised.

“If this plant has affected me the way it has, who better to tell this story in order to help others open their eyes and perspectives, too?” she said. 

Originally from Cincinnati, Rosenbaum said moving to Hoboken in the summer of 2017 was a key catalyst for her entrepreneurship — and great for business. 

“Establishing myself as a ‘new’ Jersey girl who wants to have a company rooted here, to bring in product and money for the state, has been a huge pro,” she said. 

CBD oil can be taken a variety of ways, including mixed in beverages.

And, much like her product, Rosenbaum said the business’s unfolding has been rather organic, with “amazing” connections having fallen into place. 

“I’ve just tried to be real and honest and show my face while talking about the things I’ve experienced so that I can be here for our customers,” she said. “The plant has been stigmatized, but Rosebud is a safe place in which to continue to ask questions.”

Her search for answers, Rosenbaum said, is what led to her success, after all. 

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After graduating from Morehead State University in Kentucky with a degree in social work in 2011, Rosenbaum said she worked a variety of jobs that gave her lots of opportunity to observe leaders in small businesses, including as a front desk assistant, a sales representative, a personal assistant and a home manager. 

“My husband was chasing his pro baseball career, and it was difficult to have a full-time job and still make time to travel and see him,” Rosenbaum said. 

Her husband, Danny Rosenbaum, played professional baseball for several years, including with the Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox organizations. 

That is what gave Alexis Rosenbaum the idea for her first successful business. 

“I saw a niche in my husband’s industry that no one was filling,” she said. “I would go to team stores and would not resonate with any of the gear, because everything marketed toward women was pink and bedazzled.” 

Rosenbaum said she therefore began manufacturing and selling items created from leftover baseball glove laces with her sister, Hannah King, in 2013. 

“We made bracelets, lanyards, keychains and more, engraving personal messages onto the leather,” she said. 

With a patent and licensing deals with Major League Baseball teams, the pair was able to take a $100 investment and build a six-figure business in less than two years, with a 70 percent revenue growth year-over-year. 

But, when her husband left baseball, Rosenbaum said she lost interest and sold  Game Day Feels in 2017 before relocating to New Jersey. 

“My husband was offered a job here and we believed we had maxed out our potential in Ohio,” she said. “It seemed like an exciting opportunity to challenge ourselves within a totally new space, next to one of the biggest cities where the possibilities are endless.” 

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Upon relocating, Rosenbaum said she found work as an on-call remote director of business development for a small marketing and communications agency. 

But her anxiety only grew worse — until her sister convinced her to try full-flower cannabis. 

“I saw immense changes in my life and stress levels, but, without being able to microdose, I sometimes became paranoid,” Rosenbaum said. “So, I hunted for something else to use.”  

That’s when she discovered CBD, or the most prevalent phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. 

“It helped me catch my breath, feel more in control and slow down,” Rosenbaum said. 

Because it is non-intoxicating, CBD is legal in all 50 states, regardless of other laws legalizing cannabis.

CBD, Rosenbaum said, can safely reduce anxiety, inflammation and pain in both humans and animals. 

“But the products I was exploring, I still couldn’t identify where the hemp was being grown or how many people touched the product before it reached me,” she said. “That opened the door for me to explore the possibility that I might be able to do this on my own.” 

Rosenbaum said that, through some research and explorative networking, she was able to connect and have several conversations with a farm in Eugene, Oregon, with which she ultimately would establish a relationship and trust over six months. 

“I also was buying, testing and selling their oil in bare packaging, seeing if people would want and enjoy this product as much as me,” she said. “Finally, in the spring of last year, I decided to launch my own brand — and tell my own story — using the products grown at their farm.” 

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Rosebud uses nothing but organic coconut oil and organic hemp in its full-spectrum CBD oils, whereas competitors often use ingredients such as fillers, additives, flavorings or preservatives. 

“We also don’t spray a single thing on our plants, as they are fed with everything they need from the earth,” Rosenbaum said. 

Each 15-milliliter bottle contains nearly 30 servings, with a 350mg bottle ($55) serving nearly 12mg of CBD per drop and a 1000mg bottle ($125) serving nearly 33mg. 

Rosebud also has partnered with Lauren’s All-Purpose Salve to produce a 350mg CBD salve ($75) to help relieve ailments such as psoriasis and eczema, Rosenbaum said.

“The cost of running and growing a successful business, of working directly with a small organic farm, of paying our farmers and their employees a fair wage and of applying for certain certifications — all of that was taken into consideration when creating the pricing for our elevated, high-quality product,” Rosenbaum said. 

Because it is non-intoxicating, the 2018 federal Farm Bill legalizes hemp (from which CBD is extracted) as long as products derived contain no more than 0.3% THC.

“That’s why having a direct connection with our farm is really important. Our product is handled by the same people all the way from seed to bottle, so there isn’t a lot of room for error.”

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After running the business herself for nearly a year, Rosenbaum said she brought on several independent contractors to help manage customer service, retail sales, marketing, design, events business development and operations in January. 

“I’m creative and I like having the flexibility to work on different projects as they come up, so I like working with people who also value that type of lifestyle,” she said. “But, as a small team, it’s difficult to get ahead.” 

With Rosebud now in more than 100 retailers nationwide (including small cafes, yoga studios, barbershops and more in New Jersey) and moving more than 1,500 units per month online, Rosenbaum said she is now seeking investors to help her grow the business. 

“During the first half of this year, we have been making sure our product, packaging and marketing is up to date with all of the new and upcoming regulations,” she said. “In the second half, we will be all about expanding.

“We want to be that real, authentic, transparent brand that people feel they can trust and talk directly with.” 

Industry challenges 

Alexis Rosenbaum said there are several challenges to working within an industry associated with cannabis.  

“Banks are not usually interested in taking on the risk of working within an industry that is not yet regulated,” she said. “And there are a lot of barriers to running an e-commerce business in this space, like credit card processing, website hosting, using mail services such as Mailchimp and, especially, digital marketing.” 

Rosebud, for example, cannot advertise on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. 

“People are afraid of playing a role in the growth, marketing and sale of a legal product in an unregulated market with no real guidelines yet on how business should be handled,” Rosenbaum said.

Conversation Starter

Reach Alexis Rosenbaum at: hello@rosebudcbd.comor, for more information, visit: rosebudcbd.com

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Why ex-Horizon exec founded new business in NYC, not N.J.

A former Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey executive has started a company that aims to bring value to businesses — largely health insurers — looking at data of their customers … but it isn’t based in New Jersey.

No stranger to entrepreneurship, Minal Patel, former senior vice president and chief strategy officer of Horizon, has started a couple of companies in the past. One was based in Hoboken and another in Springfield.

But Abacus Insights, the latest, is based in New York City.

“This one, the reason why I (started) in New York City, was really to have the most accessible geography to talent,” Patel said.

“It’s not that New Jersey doesn’t have the talent. We have quite a few people who travel from New Jersey into Manhattan. But I also have people traveling from Brooklyn and Queens that otherwise may not have joined us if they had to make one more leap over the river. So, my New York office is based, literally, four blocks from Port Authority, two blocks from Penn Station, all the subway lines run through here — so there is no one that can tell me they can’t join us because of the commute.”

The company announced May 30 the completion of a $12.7 million Series A financing round, led by CRV, along with existing investors .406 Ventures and Echo Health Ventures.

Patel started the company in August 2017, and has hired employees from along the East Coast, from Florida to Massachusetts.

His target client is the health insurance industry, where data is being collected in droves but not being used well, he said.

“Watching the struggle of trying to get data in order to try to create any kind of value, whether you’re an entrepreneur, physician or any kind of health plan … it just didn’t matter,” he said.

“Because we understood the pain points so much, what we wanted to do and how we wanted to accomplish it was very clear.”

Rather than stay at Horizon and create the software, where it was likely to hit several speed bumps and be a low priority as part of a large organization, Patel chose to leave and spend all his time working on the idea.

Being a startup has its advantages, such as the flexibility to hire remotely. It also allows the company to be nimble, and adapt to changes in technology quickly, Patel said.

“The technologies in the space continue to innovate,” Patel said.

“The two things that really allow this to happen now versus five years ago or 10 years ago, from the technical perspective … is that, one, data is more digitized today than it’s ever been … and the second thing is, now you have data up until three to five years ago, to give us the ability to really leverage the advanced computing capabilities to take large sums of data and really make sense out of it.”

The cloud, specifically, is where all the magic happens.

“Over the last 24 months what has really happened is the clouds — Amazon, Google, Microsoft — they’ve recognized that, if they want to be in the health care space, not only do they have to provide the computing capabilities to do the financial services and for other industries they work with, but health care also has very specific privacy and security requirements,” Patel said.

“Even in the time that we have existed, Amazon, for example, has matured a lot of its components to become more HIPAA-friendly and HIPAA-compliant. That has allowed us to leverage those capabilities in a much more rapid fashion. So, when we first started the company, we had used third-party software, because Amazon’s wasn’t quite ready yet. But in the six to nine months since we started, their products did mature to the point where we could use them. That cycle of innovation in months — not years, and sometimes in quarters — is really difficult for one single entity to keep up with.”

The hope, Patel said, is to have the buy-in of insurers as well as health care business in general — including doctors — but the platform is likely to be able to serve a broad range of business types so entrepreneurs can take advantage of the data analysis he wants to provide.

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Bringing health care home: St. Joseph’s CEO says tech will help move treatment

Kevin Slavin knows the world of health care is changing, which is why his small hospital system is looking for partners.

Between a change in the way hospitals are being paid, the increasing demand for in-home care and increasingly tech-savvy patients, hospitals have needed to adjust and scale faster than ever before.

Kevin Slavin

“Where home care is going, with technology and diagnostics and the explosion of innovation, there will be more care in the home,” Slavin, CEO of St. Joseph’s Regional Healthcare System, told ROI-NJ in a recent interview.

It’s something he candidly tells his staff: There will be more people providing care in the home than there will be at hospitals.

“Everybody will want to be treated at home if they can, and more and more things are moving in that direction,” Slavin said.

St. Joseph’s Regional Healthcare system already has an affiliation with Trinitas Regional Medical Center for behavioral health, and with Hackensack Meridian Health for home care.

But the partnerships and affiliations need to grow to help the system maintain its independent identity, Slavin said.

One of the key things he and his team have determined, in the requirements of a partnership, is that the system would remain Catholic and retain the governance structure currently in place through the Sisters of Charity.

“That is non-negotiable,” Slavin said. “We’ve made it clear to all the organizations. So, if they can’t live with that, then don’t submit a proposal.”

There is also an emphasis on access to capital, ability to develop new services and focusing on population health — especially because St. Joseph’s serves a vulnerable population in Paterson.

But Slavin isn’t coming to the table empty-handed — despite the fact that the revenues for the hospital relies heavily on Medicaid, charity care and self-pay.

“That’s obviously the big challenge we have,” Slavin said. “We’ve really continued to strengthen ourselves financially — we’re stronger than we’ve ever been before — we’ve focused a lot in the last three or four years on our balance sheet.”

He detailed how.

“We were one of the last to have a defined contribution pension plan …. so, we de-risked the balance sheet,” he said. “We’ve refinanced the debt, saved money on the bond interest rates and reorganized all of our investments. So, our balance sheet is stronger. We can certainly remain independent for the foreseeable future.”

One of the biggest things St. Joseph’s has been able to do to make a name for itself in the recent past is develop the Alternatives to Opioids, or ALTO, program. 

As the name suggests, it’s simply avoiding prescribing opioids and searching for alternatives.

And hospitals around the country have been calling St. Joseph’s for the last two years to learn how to implement it.

That has caused some problems with insurers, who are less willing to approve more costly drugs and topical pain relievers — but the model was passed by Congress and is now a federal law, with federal money to boot, and has been adopted broadly by the state Department of Health and the New Jersey Hospital Association.

St. Joseph’s is getting attention for its ALTO opioids program.

Here are some of the other topics Slavin discussed with ROI-NJ.

ROI-NJ: Aside from finances, what are you bringing to the table for the other organizations who might be interested in partnering with you?

Kevin Slavin: One of the things that makes us attractive is our expertise with the poor, vulnerable populations — whether it be Medicaid or uninsured. We have 150 years of understanding how to work with those groups and have them access the care; it’s not just the recent health coalition, but the Sisters have been doing this for years.

We have a center for what we call ambulatory physician care for Medicaid and uninsured — we don’t like to use the word clinic. They get the same care as anyone will get in a private office.

ROI: How did that center come about?

KS: It used to be five different centers all throughout Paterson. That included pediatric, internal medicine, family medicine, HIV and specialty. We consolidated a couple of years ago into one efficient, more accessible location.

ROI: I hear a lot of focus on social determinants of care — so, things in the home or home environment — and transportation being a barrier to care. With this consolidated location, what is being done about transportation?

KS: That’s a big one. We think we should be more into the transportation business. We know what we are good at as a health system, so that might be another avenue for us to look for a partner that really knows medical transportation.

A good example of one of the things we are doing is we run the WIC program for not just Passaic County, but a couple of counties, for many years. That is in a location in Paterson that is not on the bus route. So, we are moving it. It’s going to cost us more money to move it, but we are going to move it at a renovated place down the street — and that’s going to be on the bus route in June. It’s about a half-a-million-dollar renovation into an existing building where we had our IT department before. 

ROI: St. Joseph’s also helped start the Health Coalition of Passaic to focus on social determinants, emulating the type of collaboration that began with the Camden Coalition. How is that going and what is the next step?

KS: We’ve been looking at this whole high-utilizer topic that Dr. (Jeffrey) Brenner started in Camden. Learning from it, Nicholson Foundation (which partnered to launch the Coalition) is big on learning small and then growing. So, we recently launched this past year after we built up the staff. We have a program where we are case-managing 86 of the highest emergency room utilizers in certain ZIP codes and finding all kinds of things. For example, the biggest challenge for that population is housing. Not necessarily being homeless, but substandard housing. We’re hopeful to be designated as one of the pilots for the supporting housing project that NJHA and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency are working on.

ROI: What else is on the horizon?

KS: We are hopeful to get a grant to launch an innovation center here. (The grantor) felt it was important that a safety-net organization be able to do innovation just like the more affluent systems that can take $5 million and put it in a fund and say, ‘Here, go create things.’ We are putting some of our own resources in it, but it’s a different approach than others have taken.

This is to learn the discipline of innovation and learn how to do innovation. Things like human-centered design, prototyping, very specific skills that successful companies have instilled. A lot of it comes out of Kaiser Permanente. They drive this through their culture through innovation. Do projects along the way, but also learn from a leadership team perspective and then drive it to the rest of the organization. So, it’s not a program, it just becomes the way you do things.

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Cambrex inks SVP, chief human resources officer

East Rutherford-based Cambrex Corp., a pharmaceutical product developer, announced it has named Dottie Donnelly-Brienza its new senior vice president and chief human resources officer.

In this role, she will be responsible for the company’s global human resource function and will join the executive management team.

Brienza, who has more than 20 years of human resources experience in the life sciences sector, most recently served as chief human resources officer at Cantel Medical. Before that, she held several leadership roles at Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“Dottie is a highly successful executive with substantial leadership experience in human resources and has extensive experience in the healthcare industry,” Steven Klosk, CEO and president at Cambrex, said. “She joins Cambrex at an exciting time for the company and will add tremendous value as we continue to focus on our growth strategy.”

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Summit Medical Group to merge with CityMD

Summit Medical Group and its overarching management company are merging with New York-based CityMD, CEO Dr. Jeffrey LeBenger confirmed to ROI-NJ on Thursday.

LeBenger will remain CEO of Summit, but the merged entity will now be backed by New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Merging CityMD, a strong urgent care provider, and Berkeley Heights-based Summit Medical Group will create a uniquely accessible and comprehensive model for patients across the New York/New Jersey metro area, the players said in a joint statement.

“Since its inception in 2010, CityMD has built healthier, kinder communities by providing high-quality, convenient and compassionate care for everyone,” Dr. Richard Park, co-founder and CEO of CityMD, said. “This exciting merger will integrate our urgent care centers with an exemplary multispecialty medical organization and expand patient access to some of the best medical care in the tri-state area.”

Warburg Pincus first partnered with CityMD in June 2017.

TJ Carella, managing director, said the deal makes sense on a lot of levels.

“Warburg Pincus is pleased to support the merger of these two exceptional health care companies in creating the leading physician-centric and consumer-oriented integrated delivery system in the largest U.S. health care market,” he said in a statement.

LeBenger said the two physician groups Summit acquired out West, one in Arizona and the other in Oregon, will be unaffected by the change.

“We are still a physician-owned and physician-run health care system,” he said.

Details about the management structure, and any potential rebranding, remain unclear at this time.

Summit Medical Group, which has roots dating back to 1919, has had tremendous growth and success under LeBenger.

With more than 900 providers at over 80 locations in New Jersey, multiple comprehensive ambulatory care campuses and a world class cancer center, SMG handles 1.9 million patient visits annually.

CityMD was founded in 2010 by a group of emergency medicine physicians with a mission to serve its communities by providing an exceptional experience through high-quality medical care and convenient access.

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Dr. Reddy’s sells neurology products to Upsher-Smith for as much as $110M

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. announced Friday that Upsher-Smith Laboratories has agreed to purchase two of its neurology-branded assets for up to $110 million or more.

The two products, Zembrace Symtouch (a sumatriptan injection) and Tosymra (a sumatriptan nasal spray), were commercialized through Dr. Reddy’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Promius Pharma LLC.

“Tosymra and Zembrace were designed and developed with the goal of addressing unmet needs of large but discrete segments of patients suffering from episodic migraine who need options other than their current therapies. We are excited to partner with Upsher-Smith, which has established a strong presence in neurology,” Anil Namboodiripad, senior vice president, proprietary products, and head, Promius Pharma, said.

Under the agreement, Dr. Reddy’s, which has facilities in Princeton, will receive $70 million as upfront consideration and $40.5 million in near term milestones and additional financial considerations. Dr. Reddy’s will also receive sales-based royalties on a quarterly basis.

“This is a testament to our strong R&D capabilities, and delivering solutions to unmet needs of patients. In a short time, we created a well-recognized migraine specialty business in the U.S. and we look forward to our partnership with Upsher-Smith,” G.V. Prasad, co-chairman and CEO, Dr. Reddy’s, said.

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HMH formally announces $714M expansion at Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Bob Garrett says the expansion of the system’s flagship hospital in Hackensack will “prepare us to effectively meet the growing needs of our patients and the communities we serve.”

Northern market regional President Ihor Sawczuk says it will elevate “the standard of health care not only in New Jersey, but across the country.”

And Mark Sparta, the hospital’s CEO and president, says it will “ensure Hackensack University Medical Center remains on the forefront of patient care, with cutting-edge operating rooms and modern patient accommodations.”

When Hackensack Meridian officials formally announced the transformation of the campus of Hackensack University Medical Center, it was as much about the ability of the hospital — and the system — to meet the health care needs of the future as the state-of-the-art facility itself.

And the facility itself is impressive.

As first reported in ROI-NJ last fall, the $714 million expansion will feature 438,000-square-feet of useable space in a nine-story tower.

The new pavilion is the first step in that process and will feature 24 new operating rooms, new and improved Intensive Care Unit beds, as well as three floors of private patient rooms. In addition, the building will include:

  • New Second Street entrance/visitor lobby;
  • A visitor center;
  • A new central sterile processing department;
  • 24 operating rooms, including an intraoperative MRI;
  • 50 ICU beds;
  • Shell space for an additional 25 ICU beds;
  • 100 medical-surgical beds;
  • 50 bed Orthopedic Institute;

Construction on the project will begin this summer. It currently is projected to open in 2022.

Hackensack Meridian Health board of trustees Chair Gordon Litwin said the expansion is symbolic of the system’s commitment to the community.

“This innovative project reflects our network’s deep commitment to better serving the needs of patients and families,” he said.

“This new pavilion will provide an enhanced patient experience, while preserving the privacy, respect and dignity our patients and families deserve. Our patients are at the heart of the work we do, and we will continue to pursue groundbreaking initiatives that advance the network’s world-class, patient- and family-centered care well into the future.”

The expansion also will help the next generation of doctors, since the hospital serves as the primary teaching site for the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

Garrett said the timing is right.

“As Bergen County’s first hospital and the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state, Hackensack University Medical Center has always been setting the standard for excellence in health care,” he said. “This is a major investment to elevate our best-in-class health care services and modernize our facilities to ensure we are providing patients the world-class, cutting-edge care they deserve.”

RSC Architects of Hackensack is the lead architect. It partnered with EYP Architects of Houston. Stantec Consulting is providing project management services/owner’s representative services for the overall project. The W.M. Blanchard and Turner Construction Co. has created a joint venture to provide construction management services for the project.

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