NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - RWJBarnabas Health system will take over management of Middlesex County's two long-term care and nursing facilities, county and hospital officials announced today.

Currently the Middlesex County Improvement Authority manages the county's Roosevelt care centers in Edison and Old Bridge, but that will change by the end of the year when the county reaches a final agreement with RWJBarnabas Health, officials said.

"We are very excited to forge this partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health, the state's largest healthcare provider," Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ron Rios said at a press conference today at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

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This agreement, Rios said, "will enable Middlesex County to continue offering access to high quality, long-term care in a cost-effective way. We are also committed to providing high quality care with a union workforce so our residents know they will care for by professional caregiver," Rios said.

Barry Ostroswski, president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health, the company is "eager for the opportunity to expand our existing system geriatrics quality initiatives to the nursing home environment."

The Edison center has 356 beds and the Old Bridge facility has 180 beds.

Rios, in his statement, acknowledged members of Communications Workers of American (CWA) Local 1065, which represents workers at the Old Bridge and Edison centers. Rios thanked the workers "for their continued support of our mission to provide the best possible care for our residents."

A joint statement released that the county and hospital released today included a comment from Local 1065 vice president Linda Kukor, lauding the management agreement.

"This partnership puts together a long-term strategy to ensure Roosevelt continue to serve the community while honoring the union contract and providing job security for our members," Kukor said. She said the union represents over 200 caregivers.

However, county officials did not immediately respond to questions of whether there would be staff cuts at the hospitals or if union employees had to reapply for their jobs.

Officials gave no details of the financial arrangement between the county and the hospital, and did not immediately respond to questions of how the hospital would be paid for the new management role, or if the new partnership would cut the counties operating costs for the two facilities.

Rios said the partnership would ensure patients received the highest care.

"As true collaborators in the endeavor, Middlesex County will have a strong voice in protecting our most vulnerable residents," Rios said. "We will continue to be advocates on behalf of county residents," he said.