New Jersey-based RWJBarnabas Health and St. Luke’s University Health Network, based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, signed a three-year clinical affiliation agreement primarily to expand access to care for patients in northern New Jersey.
RWJBH and St. Luke's officials said the three-year, joint, renewable agreement is neither a merger or affiliation, but a "coordinated effort to promote access to the best and most advanced programs of care provided by the two systems and their physicians—especially for those patients who desire to, or must, have their care provided in New Jersey."
Officials said the affiliation will include participation in each other’s clinically integrated networks, access to electronic medical records when its permissible and creating evidence-based clinical programs. They also plan to collaborate in expanding educational opportunities including education of medical students, recruitment of residents and fellows, co-placement of residents, co-sponsorship of fellowships and collaboration on research opportunities.
“This Agreement introduces innovative new opportunities for supporting local communities,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health in a statement.
Following a $1 billion partnership with Rutgers announced last year, RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest academic health care system. RWJBarnabas was born from the 2016 merger of Barnabas Healthcare and the Robert Wood Johnson Health System.
St. Luke’s is a non-profit health care system in northeastern Pennsylvania, operating the state’s oldest nursing school and the Lehigh Valley’s only medical school and hospitals and outpatient locations in 11 counties, including Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.
Officials said patients will benefit from coordinated access, including the transfer of patients to RWJBH facilities for tertiary and quaternary services provided by hospitals, physicians and other providers affiliated with RWJBH, such as oncology, pediatrics, cardiology, trauma, behavioral health, neurosurgery, home health, obstetrics and women’s health.