Rutgers enters public-private partnership with RWJBarnabas Health

<p>RWJBarnabas Health, whose center is located in New Brunswick, is the largest, most comprehensive healthcare system in New Jersey.</p>

RWJBarnabas Health, whose center is located in New Brunswick, is the largest, most comprehensive healthcare system in New Jersey.


Rutgers University has recently entered a public-private partnership with RWJBarnabas Health, the largest, most comprehensive healthcare system in New Jersey. To fund the partnership’s educational and research missions, RWJBarnabas Health is investing $100 million initially, followed by more than $1 billion over the next 20 years.

The two institutions will remain separate, as the agreement is a partnership, not a merger. Rutgers will manage the academic and research aspects of the partnership in coordination with RWJBarnabas Health, while RWJBarnabas Health will manage the clinical delivery of services in coordination with Rutgers, said Neal Buccino, associate director of Public and Media Relations and Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences (RBHS) spokesperson.

The goal, Buccino said, is to create an integrated academic health system that improves access to care and reduces health disparities across the state and nation.

“Rutgers University has entered into a public-private partnership with RWJBarnabas Health to jointly operate a world-class academic health system dedicated to life-changing research, clinical training of tomorrow’s workforce and high-quality healthcare for all,” he said.

The funding will go toward recruiting clinical and academic leaders, faculty and approximately 100 new principal investigators during the next 10 years, in addition to doubling Rutgers’ research portfolio, Buccino said. Access to clinical trials will also be expanded across the state, he said.

“The commitment of RWJBarnabas Health to fund research and educational expansion at Rutgers will further propel us to national leadership in academic healthcare and biomedical research,” Buccino said. “With the investments from RWJBarnabas Health, Rutgers will lead an effort to recruit additional, high-caliber principal investigators and to increase grant applications with the goal of substantially increasing the amount of NIH and other federal grant funding we bring to New Jersey.”

The partnership also directly affects Rutgers students studying healthcare. It will set aside $10 million to encourage Rutgers medical students to stay in-state after completing their education and provide care to New Jersey residents. Classroom and benchwork will be integrated into the clinical delivery system on a larger scale as well, Buccino said.

“By extending our expertise across RWJBarnabas Health, we will expand translational research and clinical trials, and gain access to national leading physical facilities,” he said. “This partnership will provide our students and faculty, as well as members of the RWJBarnabas health team, with outstanding clinical education and research opportunities.” 

Students involved in the RBHS institutions will also have access to more training opportunities in inter-professional clinical environments. RBHS is made up of eight health-related Rutgers institutions including two medical schools, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, Rutgers School of Nursing and the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Buccino said.

The first steps to developing the partnership and carrying out the clinical integration were to hire an integrate practice CEO for the combined medical group, as well as a chief operating officer and chief financial officer. A combined medical group strategic council comprised of physicians and other providers will advise the institutions on initiatives and strategies, Buccino said.

On Sept. 6, representatives of the combined medical group presented a town hall at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to discuss the specifics of the clinical integration. There, leadership announced that within the next two years, infrastructure functions such as appointment scheduling and phone management systems would be improved as well as support functions like supply chain and facilities management.

“The Rutgers-RWJBarnabas Health partnership brings together two higher education and healthcare leaders to create the largest academic health system in New Jersey — one that will fundamentally change healthcare in New Jersey and beyond,” he said. “It will be a force for change and innovation, shaping the future of the healthcare delivery system.”

That change and innovation will start at home with a new $750 million state-of-the-art, free-standing cancer pavilion in New Brunswick, Buccino said. A partnership between RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the pavilion will house outpatient services, including services for chemotherapy and radiation, in addition to major diagnostic systems and inpatient cancer services.


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