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Updated: Health care industry reacts to news of new medical school

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(Editor's note: This story was updated at 3:48 p.m. with comments from Brian Strom, chacellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences; and Dr. Paul J. Carniol, president, Medical Society of New Jersey; and at 5:08 p.m. with a comment from Cynthia Jay, spokeswoman for Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey.)

Health care experts statewide welcomed the news that New Jersey is on track to get a new medical schools. Here's what they had to say:

Ray Saputelli, executive vice president, New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians

“We are encouraged that this new medical school will have a social conscience and focus on New Jersey’s future workforce demands, especially our acute need for primary care specialties, which traditionally includes family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics.

“Now, the state needs to actively partner with all of our medical schools and teaching hospitals to have a plan to keep those new primary care physicians in New Jersey to practice and ultimately reap the benefits of their N.J. education and training. Unless the state’s practice environment for primary care physicians is changed drastically, we can have five more medical schools in the state and we will still continue to be a net exporter of primary care physicians.”

Betsy Ryan, chief executive, New Jersey Hospital Association

“With 42 teaching hospitals in our state, New Jersey’s hospital community is committed to preparing the next generation of medical professionals, and we welcome this new Hackensack-Seton Hall partnership. Workforce projections show an ongoing demand for physicians in our state, and that underscores the critical importance of medical schools and teaching hospitals. In fact, medical schools are such an integral part of our state’s health care delivery system that NJHA last year began welcoming state-based medical schools into its membership. 

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“This new venture also illustrates how important health care is to the New Jersey economy. Its location in the former Roche campus will fill a void in that community and provide a much-needed economic boost. The Association of American Medical Colleges reports that New Jersey teaching hospitals and medical schools had a total economic impact of more than $15.4 billion, with nearly 95,000 jobs directly and indirectly attributable to New Jersey’s medical schools and teaching hospitals. 

“If I may add one caveat: There’s an added operating cost to hospitals that provide graduate medical education opportunities. We need to maintain sufficient levels of Medicare and Medicaid funding to support that important mission and ensure that hospitals will be able to continue providing those services to aspiring physicians and other health care professionals.”

Dean J. Paranicas, chief executive, HealthCare Institute of New Jersey

“This is a win/win for all involved. It benefits the economy of the state, medical education, the health care community, the life sciences community and, most important, ultimately, patients.

It will certainly reinforce New Jersey’s leadership in the life sciences and in our view is further evidence that New Jersey remains the medicine chest of the world.

“You’ve got the potential to create jobs and foster the economy. This presents further opportunities for collaborations between the health sciences, health care institutions and the life sciences community, and it also keeps medical students in the state.

RELATED: Future Hackensack University Health Network-Seton Hall medical school heralded as 'game-changer'

“This is a major step forward and a further commitment from two very venerable New Jersey institutions in Seton Hall and Hackensack University Health Network. When you get that kind of a commitment to invest and to have a high quality facility that will continue to be made available for the purposes for which it was constructed — that’s a positive development.

“Given the fact that New Jersey is in competition with other states for life science investment, it presents another magnet that we will think has the potential to be a powerful one to attract more life sciences investment in New Jersey going forward.”

Christine Stearns, vice president for health and legal affairs, New Jersey Business & Industry Association

“This is exciting: a partnership between two great New Jersey institutions and a major opportunity for the state.

“One of the great things about New Jersey is our highly skilled workforce. This will continue to ensure that we have yet another institution training physicians and we know that, looking to the future, we have an unmet need for physicians. This will help us fill that gap and continue to contribute to what helps make New Jersey a great place to live and work.

“A great health care delivery system is certainly something the employer community needs. We want the highest quality care, and the most efficient care, and having well-trained physicians is one component of a great health care system.

RELATED: Hackensack University Health Network, Seton Hall to create medical school on former Roche campus

“A healthy workforce is important to employers. It impacts their ability to operate a business and also contributes to the quality of life, which is important to employers and companies looking to locate in the state. “

John Sarno, president, Employers Association of New Jersey

“What we are seeing is the emergence of New Jersey as a leader in health care innovation. I believe that the medical school will quickly become a center for medical training excellence and will attract medical students from around the world.”

Ray Castro, chief policy analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective

“This is great news for New Jersey economically as well as for improving health care. There is no question that health services will continue to be one of the biggest opportunities for creating more jobs, so it is important that the state get on the bandwagon early on. From a health perspective, we also know there will be a shortage of primary doctors in the future unless the state does more to train doctors. This need is made even more urgent by the Affordable Care Act, which has already resulted in over a half-million New Jerseyans obtaining health insurance. With the addition of this new school along with the other vast medical resources that are available, New Jersey is on the right track to become a leader in the health field.”

Brian Strom, chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

“If this proposal succeeds then New Jersey would benefit, as it would help to address the projected shortage of primary care physicians in the state.”

Dr.  Paul J. Carniol, president, Medical Society of New Jersey

"We here are excited to learn more about the project. Producing more opportunities for quality medical education is terrific news for our state, and MSNJ looks forward to working with the school in the future.

Physician training and retention is of utmost importance to MSNJ. We hope to see the state develop a physician-friendly image and environment. We export far too many medical school graduates to other states after investing in their training and education. It is important for us to continue to create more residency training slots for these new students to build our physician workforce. Additionally, we must boost economic incentives, like our loan redemption program and a better tax environment, to support physician retention. We must continue to do our part to encourage the best and brightest students to practice in our state.”

Cynthia Jay, spokeswoman for Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey

"The addition of a new medical school in New Jersey will provide a pathway for more educational opportunities for physicians in the state. And in the long run, it means New Jerseyeans will have more doctors available to them and more access to health care. It’s a win-win for the state, our industry and the health care landscape in general."

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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