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Great expectations: Inspira Health Network has an aggressive growth plan, which includes building a new hospital

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John DiAngelo, CEO, Inspira Health Network.
John DiAngelo, CEO, Inspira Health Network. - ()

It's just 4 years old, but Inspira Health Network is undergoing a growth spurt.

The health care network, created in November 2012 from the merger of South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital, is developing in a number of ways — not least of which is the new hospital it has in the pipeline.

Inspira, which already operates three hospitals, bought 100 acres of land from Rowan University for the construction of the facility in Harrison Township. It’s now undergoing an approval process to build the five-story, 350,000-square-foot medical center on that land.

It’s the largest project of its sort in New Jersey currently, and yet it comes from a health care system that doesn’t rank among the absolute largest systems in the state.

As CEO John DiAngelo said, he’s keen on “exceeding what people are expecting of us at Inspira.”

The health care network also has four multispecialty health centers and more than 100 service locations throughout the region, a number that DiAngelo proudly says is rising by the day.

DiAngelo spoke with NJBIZ about the entirety of Inspira’s plans for expansion.

NJBIZ: Inspira got clearance from Rowan to purchase land on the school’s West Campus in Harrison Township back in February, but what led up to your health care system making that deal?

John DiAngelo: One of the reasons we initially wanted to do that is we have a relationship with them through our residency program. We run about 150 residents (through a) Rowan affiliation. They also provide coverage for our psychiatric facilities and a number of other things we do. We wanted to take that to a higher level in terms of working on research programs with them, working on them for internships and higher education programs. So that combination makes sense for us.

When we merged about (four) years ago, we went through a full facilities plan, during which we looked at all of our facilities throughout all of Inspira. It was centered on the Woodbury site, and we went from trying to expand in Woodbury, where our current location is, all the way to building a greenfield site. Because we’re landlocked in the town of Woodbury, it would have more expensive and difficult to expand that facility with a new wing or to replace it. We ended up looking at moving about 10 miles away to build a new hospital.

NJBIZ: Can you provide more details at this time on the construction of the hospital?

“We are looking for new partners (after that break with Jefferson Health) and we’re hoping to have one selected by the end of the year to help us in the growth of our neurosciences program.”
John DiAngelo, CEO, Inspira Health System

JD: The new hospital will have about 200 beds, all private rooms. It will cost us about $350 million and we hope to have it done within a three-year timeframe. A certificate of need was filed in April, and we’re working through that process. We have selected (New York-based) Skanska USA as the builder. ... Everyone has been working diligently on the design on the facility; as soon as we get the approval from the state, we’ll be ready to go and move forward with construction.

NJBIZ: How else has Inspira grown near the planned hospital in Gloucester County and elsewhere?

JD: We’ve grown significantly. When we merged, we had about 60 access sites. At this point in time we have more than 100 access points. We just in the past year completed a new urgent care location that also has primary care and an orthopedic care program on the other side of the Rowan campus on Rowan Boulevard. We are now up to five urgent care centers, another opening next month in Haddon Township and another opening in the first quarter of 2017. And we’ll be getting approval for three more to hopefully open next year as well. We’re also opening a new physician medical office setting in Clarksboro. Additionally, we purchased 30 acres of land in Deptford, where we’ll be opening a large ambulatory site.

NJBIZ: Inspira recently terminated an affiliation agreement with Jefferson Health following that organization’s merger with Kennedy Health. Is Inspira looking to form a new partnership with another institution? What other partnerships are you developing?

JD: We are looking for new partners (after that break with Jefferson Health) and we’re hoping to have one selected by the end of the year to help us in the growth of our neurosciences program.

We’re also expanding our orthopedic services with a joint venture with Cooper Bone & Joint Institute, which started back in November. We also have a significant relationship with Premier Orthopedic. (Additionally), we work with medical schools and we rotate more than 50 medical students a month through our hospitals. And when the new hospital opens we anticipate that will grow even further.

NJBIZ: When you talk about exceeding the expectations people have of Inspira as a health network, what are some specific things you’re doing to achieve that?

JD: Among other things, we’re rolling out a number to call for anyone with a question or a procedure, or someone who needs help finding a physician — whatever your needs are. They stay on that phone until you have what you need. What we’ve found is that our calls for that line for the four months we’ve launched it have quadrupled. That also plays into one thing we’re probably one of the first hospitals in New Jersey to do, which is that we have a mobile app which digitally connects a patient into what the wait times are for any ER. We’re putting that in all our urgent care centers.

We also just committed to a (new IT system); we’ll be migrating to Cerner, which is about a $50 million investment for us. All of our facilities will be on a Cerner platform and all of our information will feed into one database. The goal being that people can go to anywhere within Inspira and the person treating you will have access to the same information, whether that’s in a hospital or an urgent care center. We’re looking for efficiency, not having to re-do tests and other things that could be at someone’s fingertips with this new system.

These are some things we’re doing to exceed expectations. We want to do more.

E-mail to: anjaleek@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @anjkhem

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Brett Johnson

Brett Johnson

Brett Johnson covers a wide array of sectors as a general assignment reporter. Before joining NJBIZ in 2014, he lived on the West Coast and wrote for a newspaper in Davis, Calif. You can contact him at brettj@njbiz.com or @ReporterBrett on Twitter.

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