Lourdes Health System Aligning Cardiac Service by Acquiring Second South Jersey Cardiology Practice
Friday, July 1, 2011
In the second such move this year, Lourdes Health System is acquiring a large cardiology practice, South Jersey Heart Group, in a further integration of its cardiac services. The agreement, effective July 1, will join Lourdes with South Jersey Heart Group, one of the largest cardiac groups in southern New Jersey, with 17 cardiologists and five office locations in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.
"We are pleased to have South Jersey Heart Group join us as we develop a physician alignment model that not only makes good business sense, but also supports our vision of patient-centered care," said Alexander J. Hatala, President and Chief Executive Officer for Lourdes Health System. "South Jersey Heart Group, together with Associated Cardiovascular Consultants (ACC), and members of our Cardiovascular Clinical Co-management model, are creating a true continuum of care where we can eliminate the financial and regulatory barriers that have previously separated hospital and physician office-based services. This will allow us to provide the highest quality and efficient care in the setting that is best for the patient."
"South Jersey Heart Group is one of the leading cardiovascular practices in the region. We are proud that they have chosen to join us as we seek to literally remake how medicine is practiced," Hatala added.
According to Jerome Horwitz, DO, President of South Jersey Heart Group, the decision to align with Lourdes was borne from their recognition that the Lourdes co-management model allows for physician leadership in a period of significant and rapid change. "After a great deal of evaluation, our group felt that Lourdes did the best job of empowering physicians to be the architects in redesigning the healthcare delivery model. In addition, Lourdes respects our ongoing relationships with community physicians and the other South Jersey healthcare institutions where we treat patients," he said. "We want our referring physicians and patients to know that our connection with Lourdes will not disrupt or interfere with our existing services. Most especially, our clinical and educational collaboration with Kennedy Health System and the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ) will remain solidly intact."
South Jersey Heart Group is a part of the Clinical Co-management Arrangement formed earlier this year in which Lourdes cardiologists will manage hospital-based cardiac services jointly with the Health System. 
The arrangement between Lourdes and South Jersey Heart Group is a response to changes in the healthcare environment as well as calls by national health policy organizations to fundamentally change the healthcare delivery system. While healthcare costs and health insurance premiums continue to rise, hospitals and physicians have struggled to provide services that are integrated and efficient.
"We will continue to see this type of arrangement as hospitals and physicians adjust to new realities brought by healthcare reform. While some may see these changes as daunting, we are excited to work with South Jersey Heart Group in transforming the system of episodic care to a system that focuses on coordination and outcomes," explained Alan R. Pope, M.D., chief medical officer for Lourdes Health System.
Dr. Horwitz commented that, in addition to its patient services, South Jersey Heart Group looks forward to a closer relationship with an organization that has a demonstrated track record for quality. This is evidenced by Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center's recognition by HealthGrades