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State agency gets proposals on Newark health care service

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The state health care financing agency is likely to award a contract next Thursday to a consultant who will analyze health care service in the greater Newark area — and recommend the possible consolidation or regionalization of services now provided by the region's five hospitals and four other health-care providers.

June 17 was the deadline for consultants to submit a proposal to the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, and six proposals were submitted, according to Steve Fillebrown, deputy executive director, who did not disclose the name of the bidders.

Fillebrown said his staff will recommend that one of the proposals be approved by the authority at its board meeting Thursday.

The RFP sets a Nov. 15 deadline for completion of the study

One of the five hospitals is St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, which is seeking state approval to be sold to California-based Prime Healthcare Services.

Fillebrown said the study is intended to provide the state Department of Health with information on which to base its decision whether to approve a “certificate of need” that would permit the sale of St. Michael’s.

Asked if the study would delay the sale of St. Michael's to Prime, St. Michael's spokeswoman Cathy Toscano said: "We cannot speculate on whether the study would affect timing until the RFP is awarded and we know more about the parameters of the study.  We remain committed to completing the regulatory process with Prime Healthcare and to providing high-quality health services to the communities we serve."

The hospitals that will be the subject of the study are Newark’s three hospitals: Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Michael’s Medical Center and University Hospital, along with Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville and East Orange General Hospital. The study will also look at three health centers that receive public funding: Jewish Renaissance Medical Center, Newark Community Health Centers and Newark Homeless Health Care, as well as Broadway House, which is a long-term-care facility.

The request for proposal charges the consultant, among other things, with providing “an analysis of where patients in the Newark area are going for health care services and, if a substantial number are going elsewhere, why they are doing so. The consultant should also provide recommendations on steps, if any, that can be taken to keep patients in the Newark area.”

The RFP said, “The purpose of the evaluation is to determine whether there is duplication of services, unused capacity or a lack or insufficiency of necessary services in the area and to propose recommendations for consolidation or regionalization of services if there is duplication or overcapacity and expansion of services if there is a lack of necessary services.”


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