Freeholders and BCIA Approve Care Plus Bergen As New Tenant-Operator
(Hackensack)- This morning, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Bergen County Improvement Authority celebrated a new chapter for New Jersey’s largest hospital, as a group led by Care Plus Bergen with third party-operators- Care Plus NJ, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, and Integrity House-will become the next tenant-operator of the county-owned hospital. Leaders from Care Plus Bergen group joined county officials, members of organized labor, local advocates and other community stakeholders to mark this historic occasion. This announcement is the culmination of a thorough, deliberate process to chart a new course for a strong, healthy future for the nation’s fourth largest public hospital, the people of Bergen County and northern New Jersey.
“A new day is dawning for the residents of Bergen County, as we preserve and strengthen our publicly owned hospital,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. “This agreement enhances our ability to deliver quality care to everyone in Bergen County, as well as others in need.”
On Wednesday July 12, 2017, the County Executive endorsed the evaluation committee’s recommendation of Care Plus Bergen as the hospital’s next tenant-operator, asking the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Bergen County Improvement Authority (BCIA) Commissioners to vote to confirm the recommendation and enact a 19-year lease agreement between the BCIA and Care Plus Bergen, which they did unanimously in meetings on Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon.
“As someone who has long-championed the need for enhanced mental health and addiction services, I am delighted to have Care Plus Bergen and the team they have assembled on board,” said Freeholder Chairwoman Tracy Zur. “At the County we have decades of experience working collaboratively with Care Plus on substance abuse and mental health issues, and this strong agreement ratified by the Freeholders will strengthen transparency and accountability. I am confident that the hospital will continue to serve a vital role in the fight against addiction and the opioid crisis, and provide innovative and expanded behavioral health, acute care and addiction services to our residents who need them most.”
Since January, the county’s evaluation committee has been engaged in an intensive review process to determine which of the seven qualified proposals from potential tenant-operators best aligned with the vision for the hospital. The recommendations from the Healthcare Advisory Committee’s April 2016 report served as the foundation for the evaluation committee’s work. Over the last month, the evaluation committee met to score and rank all proposals, before ultimately selecting the Care Plus Bergen group.
Care Plus Bergen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, newly established to oversee the management and operations of Bergen Regional Medical Center. Based in Paramus, Care Plus Bergen is affiliated with the largest community behavioral health provider in the county, and brings considerable expertise in outcomes focused care. Care Plus Bergen is engaging Care Plus NJ, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and Integrity House as third-party operators at the hospital.
Care Plus NJ, a pioneer in the delivery of mental health services in New Jersey, will assume oversight of the hospital’s behavioral health services.
“This momentous decision honors the efforts and values of the Bergen County community, as well as the heartfelt vision of our County Executive Jim Tedesco. The County’s support of our shared mission is a beacon of light at the end of an arduous and uncertain tunnel. With the ongoing efforts of the Stigma-Free initiative in Bergen County, the demand for effective behavioral healthcare continues to increase. This collaborative project will increase our capacity to meet the needs of our families, friends and neighbors by raising the bar for integration, compassion, and efficiency,” said Joseph Masciandaro, President and CEO at Care Plus NJ. “We have created a separate new non-profit corporation, Care Plus Bergen Inc., which will serve as the tenant-operator of the hospital. Our partners in this, and sub-contractors, will be Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Integrity House, and Care Plus NJ Inc. These three premier organizations continue to raise the bar in their respective fields. Together, we are confident in our ability to set a new standard for providing comprehensive care, in times of crisis and beyond. We are grateful and indebted to all those who contributed to the formation of what will be a national model for healthcare.”
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, a unit under Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, will provide acute care at the county-owned hospital.
"Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is excited for the opportunity to partner with Care Plus Bergen in revitalizing the healthcare for underserved Bergen County residents. Our clinical partners in Care Plus Bergen, Integrity House and Care Plus NJ are similarly focused on high-quality, mission-driven care. We look forward to working with Care Plus Bergen to help transform Bergen County's public hospital into a healthcare destination for all Bergen County residents," said New Jersey Medical School Dean Robert L. Johnson.
Integrity House, one of the largest and most renowned non-profit providers of addiction treatment and recovery services in New Jersey, will manage substance abuse services at the Hospital, including inpatient detox, residential care and outpatient services.
"As a leader in addiction treatment, Integrity House is excited about this partnership with Care Plus New Jersey and Rutgers and is honored to serve the Bergen County community by providing addiction services at the hospital," said Integrity House President & CEO, Robert J. Budsock. "We are extremely grateful to Bergen County Executive Tedesco, the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Bergen County Improvement Authority and the residents of Bergen County for the opportunity to rebuild lives at this medical center," added Budsock.“I’m grateful for the partnership we have established and excited for this team to begin implementing our shared vision for the future of this hospital,” said County Executive Jim Tedesco.