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Rutgers, RWJBarnabas Health implement agreement to combine clinical services

With the Integrated Practice Agreement, RWJBarnabas Health will take over the administration of clinical operations at Rutgers Health Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. – Photo by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital / Twitter

A recent agreement between Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health will integrate the University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) clinical operations in New Brunswick with RWJBarnabas Health medical group practices, said Brian L. Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

This Integrated Practice Agreement (IPA) will help RWJBarnabas Health continue its focus on healthcare, education and research, according to an article from Rutgers Today. It will create one of the largest integrated health systems in the country.

Strom said given that RWJMS is focused in New Brunswick, it made geographic sense to combine with RWJBarnabas Health.

“In addition, RWJBarnabas shared our vision to develop an academic health system,” he said. “As part of that vision, across the state, the goal is ultimately to integrate the practices together under their leadership (and) to integrate the teaching under our leadership.”

Current Rutgers clinicians will remain employed at the University, and RWJBarnabas Health is responsible for the patient experience and administration of clinical operations at RWJMS, according to Rutgers Today.

Strom said RWJBarnabas will also provide substantial funding to enable the hiring of new faculty and increase the amount of research being conducted. He said the integrated practices are able to invest in expenditures that Rutgers would not have been able to by itself.

“(The IPA) is also good for patients, because we can offer the kind of integrated, planned care that the patients couldn’t otherwise get,” he said.

One joint investment by the integrated practice is that of a single electronic medical record across state hospitals. He said this billion-dollar investment will enable healthcare records to be consolidated and easily accessible for primary care providers and specialists alike.

Strom said this innovation will save patients from unnecessary repeated testing and provide for a seamless, higher quality of care.

“From a research point of view, (the agreement) will lead to much better research,” he said. “From an educational point of view, it’ll offer our students access to their clinical sites.”

For medical students, the approximately 800 residents across RWJBarnabas hospitals and approximately 800 residents across Rutgers’ medical schools will come together in what Strom said would be one logical program.

Through the affiliation, Rutgers also recruited 35 researchers in critical healthcare disciplines and more than 250 clinical faculty at RWJMS and the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), according to Rutgers Today.

The clinical services provided by Rutgers NJMS at University Hospital in Newark and the clinical practices of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey were not included in this IPA, but the next step is to integrate those groups as well, Strom said.

“(The IPA) lifts the reputation of the University, which, in turn, is good for the health system, because they’re partnering with an academic center, which has a better reputation,” he said.

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