NEWARK, NJ – University Hospital's services were reported to have improved significantly over the past year during the pandemic, the hospital's administration announced. 

The Newark hospital staff on Monday reported that its services saw improvement in the areas of hospital quality, patient safety, financial performance and community engagement. The upwards trend in the hospital's services could be tied to the implementation of several performance improvement measures which included new processes and procedures, according to the staff. 

“Since I arrived at University Hospital in 2019, my top priority has been to restore the faith of our community while working with our Board of Directors and Hospital staff to make significant advances in our financial performance, operational efficiency and our overall quality of care,” University Hospital President and CEO Shereef Elnahal said. “Even as the hospital faced a worldwide pandemic head-on, and our entire UH family rose to the challenge brought by COVID-19, we far exceeded our outcome benchmarks on all of these fronts.”

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Under a strategic plan, implemented by the hospital administration in 2019, the focus was to assess the facility's quality, safety and reliability. In doing so, the intent was to improve the health of the hospital’s patients, elevate the patient experience, reduce the cost of care and enhance the well-being of the care team.

In just a few short years, the hospital has seen improvements in processes and procedures, an increase in the quality of care delivered to patients, and the financial performance of hospital operations.

Compared to 2018, when Governor Murphy issued an executive order to insert a monitor at the hospital following reports of failing safety and financial metrics, the Newark facility reported improvements in its quality measures across various common Hospital-Acquired Conditions.

Among the improvements, University Hospital reported performance improvements in reducing central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. The hospital also improved the efficiency of its care delivery, decreasing length-of-stay for patients.

The hospital even achieved a "C" safety grade this spring from The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit healthcare assessment organization, returning to this level of performance for the first time since 2016. 

While improving patient care, the hospital reported improvements financially also, completing more than 95% of the measures called for in the November 2018 State Monitor’s Report. Through a collective effort of careful spending and capital investments, University Hospital posted positive bottom-line results after several years in the negative, according to the administration. 

“We have implemented lean methodologies and scientific problem-solving approaches to help us address challenging problems, such as eliminating hospital-acquired conditions and improving overall care delivery efficiencies," said chief medical officer William Holubek. "Encouraging highly reliable behaviors and establishing a structured huddle model throughout the hospital has empowered our staff, nurtured teamwork, and improved communication." 

The report comes at a crucial time for University Hospital as it looks to expand its facilities in Newark. 

Under Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year, a $500,000 line item dedicated towards funding studies to determine the potential for a new medical facility in Newark could help staff expand services to meet the growing needs of the community. 

The state-funded study was supported during a press conference last month by Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver among other area officials. The officials said they want to see University Hospital explore a new plan and design for its Newark campus to provide more outreach to residents. 

“University Hospital is no doubt an anchor institution here in Newark,” Oliver said. “The proposed funding for the study and for capital projects is going to help address the hospital’s needs and allow it to improve the delivery of care that our communities so heavily rely on especially as we endure this pandemic.”