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A Message from Alexander J. Hatala, President and CEO, Lourdes Health System

Dear Lourdes Supporter:

Whether health care reform happens at the federal or state level, one thing is clear. The current level of spending for health care services in the United States is unsustainable. There are no easy answers to curbing the rate of health care inflation.  The current economic downturn and rate of unemployment put even more attention on health care spending and affordability.

The nation’s efforts to control health care costs have not had much long-term effect.  One reason health care costs have grown so quickly is because the health care system has historically paid for care based on the number of services provided, with few incentives for quality or value.  At Lourdes, we continually seek to provide better health care at lower costs.  That is why we have piloted new care models that have been nationally recognized as innovative approaches to care delivery.

Lourdes was one of the first hospitals in the state of New Jersey to open a Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE).  Called Life at Lourdes, our PACE program is a national model that is a coordinated approach to providing all needed preventive, primary, acute and long term care services so that nursing home eligible older adults can continue living active lives in the community.  The model utilizes multidisciplinary care teams and provides all necessary medical and social services.  Care is provided in a number of settings, including our new LIFE center in Pennsauken.  Participants report increase quality of life, lower health care costs and improved clinical outcomes.

Lourdes also created an integrated care delivery system in cardiology services by employing a large percentage of the cardiologists in the southern New Jersey region.  We know that cardiac care doesn’t end when someone walks out of one of our hospitals.  Thus we set out to create a more coordinated care model where hospital based services, community based diagnostic and testing services and physician practices are all part of one integrated provider network.  The results have been outstanding.  In 2012, Our Lady of Lourdes was named the top hospital in the State of NJ for cardiac care and within the top 100 in the nation by HealthGrades.

More benefit for your health care dollar.  We believe we can save money and improve health care at the same time.  In Catholic Health Care we use the term “stewardship”.  What it means is that we have been given limited resources and we are responsible for the care of those resources.  Just because something can be done doesn’t mean that it should be done.  Our goal is to provide VALUE in health care, which we define as the best clinical quality and patient experience at the lowest cost.  That is how to be a good steward and we believe all providers in the health care system nationwide should be striving for this.

We are grateful for your support. Your commitment will enable us to continue fulfilling our mission of service to the southern New Jersey community.

Sincerely,

Alexander J. Hatala

President and CEO

Lourdes Health System and

Catholic Health East New Jersey

New Web Site Shows Hospitals’ Vital Role in Keeping NJ Healthy

The financial challenges facing many New Jersey hospitals are well documented: Nine N.J. hospitals have closed since 2007, and six have filed for bankruptcy.

But there are other critical numbers that have received less attention: the 145,000 jobs that hospitals bring to the state and the $18 billion in hospital spending that fuels the state’s economy. Those are also key numbers that show the full picture of hospitals’ importance in their communities.

A new Web site from the New Jersey Hospital Association fills in that missing information – and more. By visiting www.keepNJhealthy.com, New Jersey residents can view the economic contributions of their local hospitals as well as the vitally important charity care services their hospitals deliver. The site also provides a convenient link for users to contact New Jersey’s elected officials and urge them to support New Jersey’s hospitals and post-acute providers.

It’s a critical period for New Jersey’s hospitals. They are facing an unprecedented combination of pressures, including:

  • Sustained financial losses from key government programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and the state’s charity care program. All three programs, funded by state and federal government, pay hospitals less than their costs. In other words, hospitals lose money each time they serve a patient from one of these three key health programs.
  • The lingering impact of the recession. State and national surveys of hospitals show that the recession is having a grave impact on their operations: Hospitals are treating more patients without health insurance. Insured patients – an important source of revenue for hospitals – are delaying care. Borrowing costs have increased for hospitals, making it difficult for them to update and improve their facilities. Donations to hospital foundations are drying up. Those pressures have forced many hospitals to resort to difficult cost-cutting strategies including layoffs and cuts in service.
  • The important healthcare needs of New Jersey residents. In today’s recession, hospitals are seeing more and more charity care patients. None of them are turned away. And now, hospitals are being challenged by the nation’s influenza outbreak. It is vitally important that hospitals receive the support they need to be prepared for these critical healthcare challenges.

NJHA and its members are working with state officials to be part of a budget solution by exploring opportunities for additional federal matching dollars. Through this partnership, NJHA has identified a potential for an additional $20 million in federal funds that would allow the state to restore cuts proposed for graduate medical education, the Health Care Stabilization Fund and the Hospital Relief Fund. It also would allow the state to preserve an existing minimum floor for charity care reimbursement. We urge the state to fully explore this opportunity to bring much-needed dollars into New Jersey and protect our state’s healthcare system.

Quality, accessible healthcare cannot be taken for granted – not in these difficult times. Please visit www.keepNJhealthy.com to learn more and to share your concerns with elected officials.

Helping New Jersey’s Uninsured Find Benefits

If you have no medical insurance, you are not alone. In the United States, nearly 47 million people have no health coverage, including more than 9 million children. New Jersey has the tenth highest percentage of uninsured, many of whom work hard but can’t afford coverage. In fact, eight out of 10 uninsured American are in working families. The good news is that there are many sources of information to find heath insurance.

To learn more click here.

Imagine a Day Without Us

“Imagine A Day Without Us” is a campaign from the New Jersey Hospital Association that aims to raise awareness among lawmakers and the public about the critical need for charity care funding. View the video here.

This campaign stresses the importance of charity care funding for New Jersey hospitals. To learn more or to voice your concern to legislators, visit the New Jersey Hospital Association’s advocacy website.

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