In response to the growing Coronavirus pandemic and projected surge of patients in Northern New Jersey, St. Joseph’s Health, in conjunction with Community Healthcare Associates (CHA), is opening acute care hospital beds at Barnert Medical Arts Complex, the former Barnert Hospital in Paterson.
“We’re fast-tracking this effort to immediately bring additional hospital beds into the fight against the virus,” said Kevin J. Slavin, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health. “Repurposing the Barnert facility will enable us to convert medical units at both our Paterson and Wayne hospitals into critical care beds at a time when patients suffering from COVID-19 are in growing need for more intensive care.”
St. Joseph’s is working closely with CHA, the owners of the Medical Arts Complex, which has a long and successful history of restoring services at healthcare facilities throughout New Jersey. “We are joining forces to put as many resources as possible at the disposal of our frontline healthcare providers during this growing crisis,” said Bill Colgan, Managing Partner of CHA. “Time is of the essence to stay ahead of the surge, and we’re happy to do our part in order to ensure area residents can get the care they need. This could not have been made possible without the collaboration of Family of Caring Health and Rehabilitation and Turning Point, who have agreed to uproot their businesses to safely transfer their patients out of the building in order to support this effort."
The new converted space, offering 154 acute care medical beds to care for patients who require hospitalization, is expected to open in two weeks as clinical and management teams from St. Joseph’s secure equipment and staffing. “I applaud the efforts of everyone involved in this heroic effort. We can’t afford to have our hospital be overburdened, said Mayor Andre Sayegh, City of Paterson. “It’s remarkable after being closed all these years Barnert Hospital is going to play a pivotal role in our war with this virus.”
Family of Caring and Turning Point, which operate a host of subacute and rehabilitation services at the Barnert complex, has been actively working with St. Joseph’s Health and CHA to support the conversion of beds. “We understand the need for more acute care beds to serve the growing numbers of COVID-19 patients,” said Mirlana Morris, Chief Operating Officer at Family of Caring, Paterson. “We’re all in this together and our entire Family of Caring team has been working tirelessly to safely transfer our patients in order to free up space.”
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli instructed hospitals and health systems across the state to look at all measures that could help absorb the surge of COVID-19 patients. The New Jersey Department of Health is also working with the New Jersey State Nurses Association to find more nurses who can help treat patients, as well as authorizing mobile intensive care paramedics to perform functions and duties to enhance and supplement medical staff in hospitals.
“We are extremely grateful to Bill Colgan, CHA and everyone at Family of Caring and Turning Point for stepping up to help us and make this project a priority,” added Mr. Slavin.
The former Barnert Hospital served as a 236-bed hospital for nearly 100 years on Paterson’s East side. After closing in 2008, the facility was purchased by CHA and underwent significant renovations, assuming tenants including a skilled nursing facility, primary care practices, and addiction treatment.