NEWARK, NJ — On the surface, it’s just a simple logo change. But according to officials at University Hospital in Newark, it represents a much bigger paradigm shift at one of the busiest medical facilities in New Jersey.
Earlier this week, University Hospital kicked off a rebranding campaign with its new logo as the centerpiece. The campaign also included a “letter to the community,” which offers more details about a combination of operational and financial changes, capital investment and “deeper community engagement” at the facility, which also serves as the principal teaching hospital for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.
Read the letter here.
Part of the hospital’s importance to the community has been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic; the Level 1 Trauma Center has been serving as a frontline stronghold in the battle against the virus for months.
But the hospital’s importance to the City of Newark goes well beyond its pandemic response, administrators say.
“As we emerge from twin crises — one, a global pandemic, and the other, a new reckoning with systemic racism as a public health crisis itself — University Hospital finds itself at an important time in our history,” President and CEO Shereef Elnahal said.
Elnahal, the former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, said it’s time for the hospital to recommit to the goals of the Newark Accords, and prioritize the community’s short and long-term needs above all else.
It won’t be easy, he admitted.
“We recognize that these are lofty goals and will require systemic changes to the system of healthcare in America in order to be fully realized,” Elnahal said. “This vision will form the motivation that drives our board and our leadership team. It will take time and incremental successes to realize our vision, but we remain committed to University Hospital, the City of Newark and the people of our community.”
The 1967 Newark riots happened when racism reached a boiling point, yielding the Newark Accords, which rededicated @UnivHospNewark to its community.Today, we release our roadmap to meet that commitment.Our thesis: to meet our mission to improve health, we must destroy racism. https://t.co/HhV61aEE91
— Shereef *VOTE NOW* Elnahal, MD (@ShereefElnahal) October 13, 2020
Here are some of the highlights of the hospital’s letter to the community:
Building the Foundation of Quality, Safety and Reliability – “University Hospital must retain its laser focus on continuous improvement in all aspects of quality and safety. Newark and our surrounding communities simply deserve a hospital that treats its patients with dignity and respect. To that end, University Hospital will utilize more robust reporting, shared governance and quality management at the bedside, while ensuring that the hospital is staffed to meet patient needs while maximizing the efficiency of staff on all shifts.”
Invigorating a Financial Sustainability Strategy – “As a public, safety net hospital, the institution continues to depend on Medicaid, Medicare, and Charity Care reimbursement to fund operations. In order to ensure financial sustainability, the Hospital will address its approach to capital funding and allocation, improve its revenue cycle, and continue to monitor and decrease expenses. To that end, University Hospital is proud to have improved its financial performance significantly over the last year, improving its revenue, responsibly reducing expenses, and enhancing its Earnings Before Interest, Depreciation and Amortization (EBIDA) margin.”
Renew its Commitment to Public Health – “The state of public health in Newark demonstrates that University Hospital, as currently structured, must realign its approach to addressing the unique healthcare needs of the community. The healthcare problems in Newark are compounded by both longstanding and emerging challenges, including behavioral health issues and a level of poverty rooted in years of systemic racism. Facing causes that are rooted in social issues, including trauma and toxic stress, University Hospital must take more ownership in tackling these public health challenges before they lead to emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”
Leveraging Strengths in Research, Education and Innovation – “University Hospital must leverage its strength as New Jersey’s most comprehensive academic medical center. It serves as the site of care for some of the world’s expert physician scientists in key specialty areas, and everything from basic science discovery to clinical and translational research occur right on the hospital campus. The hospital’s Board and leadership team also recognize the painful history of racist medical experimentation on Black Americans, and that our institution must work with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School to ensure those mistakes do not repeat themselves, and rather, that all clinical research must adhere to all modern ethical standards, and be participatory alongside the community. With those important principles in mind, University Hospital can also leverage its academic environment to commercialize innovation. Because University Hospital is the clinical site that enables these discoveries, it should maximize opportunities to generate royalties, establish ventures or joint ventures, or own equity in collaborating ventures, and use any and all proceeds to reinvest in the growth of services for our community.”
University Hospital’s Health Village – “To provide the level of health we seek to achieve for the Newark community, our healthcare delivery system must evolve and begin to coordinate efforts with government and community partners to solve social, root-cause issues that affect our community’s health. To that end, University Hospital envisions a welcoming, accessible space for patient-centered and efficient care delivery. It sees a village surrounding the hospital that can provide wrap-around services, supportive housing, and programmatic efforts that address clinical needs, skills training for entry-level employment, and a physical address from which patients can begin a process of rebuilding and thriving. A patient ‘discharged’ from University Health Village would walk away with the tools to thrive.”
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This article originally appeared on the Newark Patch