LIVINGSTON, NJ — The completion of a mega-merger between Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson University Health Systems to form the most comprehensive health system in the state of New Jersey was announced Thursday.

The partnership creates a new organization called RWJBarnabas Health, which will reach approximately five million people, more than half of the state’s population, and will advance the overall health of the region.

Under this new partnership, current Barnabas Health President and Chief Executive Officer Barry H. Ostrowsky becomes RWJBarnabas Health’s President and Chief Executive Officer, with former Robert Wood Johnson Health System and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen K. Jones serving as Chief Academic Officer in the Office of the President.

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According to Ostrowsky, Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System share many attributes, including: depth of quality-clinical services, skilled and dedicated clinicians, a legacy of teaching, a commitment to partnering with the diverse communities they serve, a responsibility as major contributors to the economy and more.

“By joining together, we have created the most comprehensive health system in the state, which will enable us to effect the kind of change in the health of our communities that our two separate systems could not do alone,” said Ostrowsky. “Our partnership also means a greater level of diversity in every respect - diversity in thought, clinical care delivery and workforce – a true reflection of New Jersey and of the people we serve.”

As one health system, RWJ Barnabas Health will aim to improve the overall health of the NJ population; continuously advance the quality of care it provides; collaborate with physicians for a closely coordinated continuum of care; contribute to local, regional and state economies by remaining a major employer; focus on the well-being of the diverse communities with a commitment to high-quality, culturally competent care; and foster and support a mission of academic excellence, including a commitment to research and medical education.

The new system will also train more than 1000 residents and interns annually and embrace the mission of academic medicine, which includes quality clinical care, joined with groundbreaking research and a commitment to medical education. Through coordination of existing academic and teaching medical centers and numerous community hospitals, RWJBarnabas Health will continue to attract and retain the finest health-care professionals and physicians, and be better prepared to strengthen the health of the state’s diverse population. 

“Both Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System have a shared commitment to advancing medical education in our state,” said Jones. “As evidenced by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s 40-year partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the proven teaching programs sponsored by Barnabas Health medical centers, our respective health systems have served as the training ground for thousands of medical professionals. As RWJBarnabas Health, our commitment to education and research will be strengthened.”

RWJBarnabas Health will become New Jersey’s second-largest private employer, with more than 32,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1000 residents and interns. The health systems contributed a combined total of more than $550 million in community-benefit services annually. These investments support charity care, food pantries, community gardens, patient education, outreach and engagement programs and programs with schools and religious groups to keep people healthy and promote wellness. Together, RWJBarnabas Health will be able to accomplish even more for the communities it serves.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two health systems have implemented a member substitution, creating a new organization based in West Orange. This approach is common for combinations of two large, not-for-profit organizations, and it creates RWJBarnabas Health, Inc., which will lead the combined health system.

RWJBarnabas Health is being led by a single board of trustees and a single leadership team composed of executives from both organizations. The new board includes equal board representation from Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System, as well as the CEOs of both organizations.

“By working together, we know we can combat disease and promote wellness in our region—truly making our communities healthier,” said Ostrowsky. “We will be working every day—with your help – to ensure that our vision becomes New Jersey’s reality.”

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