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 RWJBanabas Health, the company is "eager for the opportunity to expand our existing system geriatrics quality initiatives to the nursing home environment."

The Edison center and the Old Bridge center each have 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.

Staff members at the two centers are currently employees of the county improvement authority, county officials said. They said there are no plans to disrupt the workforce.

The officials said they and RWJBarnabas Health are "committed to making sure our employees are treated correctly and fairly, and that their benefits and retirement are not jeopardized."

Although details of the partnership are still being negotiated, the county said this is a is a lease-management agreement where the county will pay RWJBarnabas to manage the facilities

RWJBarnabus is expected to take over management of the centers Jan. 1 of next year.

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.