New Jersey state university takes new team approach to healthcare

As part of a new team-based approach to healthcare, Rutgers University plans to create a new clinical branch that will put its medical school faculty and clinical staff into one health provider network--a move that officials say will revolutionize patient care across New Jersey.

The university announced this week that it will become the first academic healthcare provider organization in the country to integrate a full-range of health-related specialties, including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and clinical psychology--in addition to more traditional fields, such as neurology, surgery, cardiology and oncology.

The plan calls for Rutgers Health to serve as the clinical arm of the university, becoming the single brand for all Rutgers patient care and patient services. The Rutgers Health Group will become a state-wide faculty practice that is made up of more than 1.000 Rutgers-based physicians, dentists, psychologists, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians. The network will include the teaching hospitals, community centers, medical groups, wellness centers and other affiliated entities and partners.

The new approach will provide patients with access to multidisciplinary teams of care providers, which officials said will minimize the number of hospital admissions, reduce paperwork, eliminate unnecessary duplication of service and prevent medical errors. It will also allow the network to leverage its statewide presence to negotiate with vendors to obtain better healthcare costs.

 "Ultimately, all Rutgers Health locations will represent a place patients can go to receive all of their care--to get well and to stay well," Brian Strom, executive vice president for health affairs and chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, said in the announcement.

He also told the Courier-Post the move will give Rutgers "the ability to give a kind of medical care that hasn't been available in the state of New Jersey before."

Rutgers President Robert Barchi told the publication the decision was one of necessity. If the university didn't create an integrated clinical entity, he said the organization would have likely lost millions of dollars in reimbursement as the industry moves away from fee-for-service to value-based payments.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the article