New Jersey health system says it can save rural hospital, bring 300 jobs

New Jersey state officials heard testimony last week supporting the acquisition of the Memorial Hospital of Salem (N.J.) County by Bloomfield, N.J.-based Community Health Care Associates, which would invest up to $60 million in the ailing hospital, according to NJ.com.

The investment would come partially from CHA and include funds from the Salem Health and Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit founded with money from the $32 million sale of Memorial Hospital in 2002 to Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems.

"Our plans include the renovation of a substantial portion of the existing facility, the consolidation and growth of certain medical programs and the implementation of significant upgrades to the hospital's medical equipment and information technology systems," said Steven Rosefsky, one of CHA's partners. "By focusing on revenue growth rather than cost-cutting measures, we expect to more than triple the daily [number of patients], attract and retain best-in-class nurses, physicians and staff, and expand high-quality healthcare services to the residents of Salem County."

CHA has guaranteed to maintain all 400 hospital job and add an additional 300 positions over the next three years. The system is seeking state approval to modify the hospital license for fewer medical beds while increasing adult acute psychiatric and long-term care beds. CHA is only required to operate the hospital as an acute care facility for five years, though representatives say CHA intends to offer acute services long after that.

"As part of the regulatory process the Department of Health asked CHA if it would maintain acute care for at least five years, their answer was 'yes,'" said CHA spokesperson Steven Lenox. "The very significant financial investment CHA is making to transform Salem Medical Center offers what should be seen as a definitive indicator of their commitment to serving the community for many years to come."

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