Newark, NJ – June 10, 2010 – Mayor Cory A. Booker, Director of Child and Family Well-Being Maria E. Vizcarrondo, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Deputy Commissioner Dr. Susan Walsh, New Jersey Apple Seed Health Care Reform Director George Hampton and the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition hosted the first Primary Health Care Provider’s Summit yesterday at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“Providing residents with quality affordable health care has been a central pillar for my administration,” Mayor Booker said. “In these challenging economic times, we must find ways to reduce the financial burden of health care costs, particularly for un-insured or under-insured residents. This alliance presents an opportunity to engage existing primary care physicians in a network that values primary care physicians and other providers of care as the core of quality healthcare delivery and will take advantage of the newest technology to achieve this goal. Such a paradigm shift manifests our City’s national leadership in both the use of cutting-edge technology and in improved coordination of quality health care.”
The summit themed “Local Primary Care Opportunities & National Health Care Reform” focused on creating the architecture of an integrated system of patient-centered health care and medical homes, with an emphasis on implementation of health information technology, creating a secure database and data that will guide model development in delivery of healthcare while concurrently providing the infrastructure necessary to manage the health care of the northeast regional population. The development of these databases and related systems will enable health practitioners and organizations to provide quality, effective health care to patients for improved health outcomes, and save millions of healthcare dollars in unnecessary or duplicative services.
“It’s been exciting to see how urban centers, like Newark, are coming together with organizations that have long provided great health care to address issues like health care reform and health information technology which will impact a whole continuum of care from preventative to hospice. I credit Newark for its leadership role in organizing a coalition which is focused on addressing these issues,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr.Walsh.
Director Vizcarrondo is the Chair of the Greater Newark Health Care Coalition and said, “We are uniting the many health care professionals and organizations in the City of Newark to achieve our common goal: of providing the best quality and most affordable possible health care to all of our residents,” said Director Vizcarrondo. “We are looking to re-define, re-engineer, transition and transform the health delivery system as it exists, to make health care in Newark and the greater Newark area coordinated, efficient and cost effective based on the identified needs of the populations to create timely access with improvements in quality of care in delivering such services.”
Director Vizcarrondo added, “We are really focusing strategically on how do we address the fact that a City like Newark has a dearth of primary health care providers and we are trying to see how collectively how we can have a bigger impact and reach of that particular primary health care needs in the City through these strategies of having the electronic medical records, patient information system, and helping all of our providers to be able to, both, afford and have access to those tools to help them do a better job.”
The mission of the Greater Newark Coalition is to look at having a collective effort in the City of Newark to re-engineer, redefine, and redevelop health care access for all the residents of the City of Newark. The coalition is made up of local hospitals, fairly qualified health centers, our health department other health professionals that are coming together a putting together a collective strategy that will address any of the initiatives coming down in regards to health care reform.
“Because of what’s happening in Newark with St. James, St. Michael’s and Columbus hospitals, it became important to join in with the city of Newark and members of the health industry to make certain that we change the way health care is ultimately delivered in the city and in the greater Newark area. As a result, this coalition was formed and we have been involved with the coalition from its very inception in a variety of initiatives till this day. Health information technology is one of the reasons why we are here today. Today we pulled a variety of primary care physicians and others to talk specifically how we can improve primary care for this Greater Newark,” said Mr. Hampton.
The Coalition will focus on attracting and retaining more primary health care physicians in the City and making sure that there is access to quality care for all of the residents of the City of Newark. The Coalition will also connect local providers to information technology resources. In fact, today’s summit really is our first approach at working with our private providers to show them the technology that is available right now to be able to have patient information transfers if necessary, be able to do all of their billing as a result that process but showing them that tech has to be built into quality health care, and that it really doesn’t have to be that hard, and that we are here to facilitate that process.
“This is a historic day. For too long we have not focused on the needs of our primary care physicians and the challenges we face as local health care providers. The Greater Newark Health Care Coalition has determined that the foundation of a redesigned healthcare delivery system is through primary care. It is our primary care physicians who are providing comprehensive health services that improve outcomes and reduce costs. I’ve been a primary care physician in the City of Newark for more than 28 years. It’s time that we come together to design a solution for adequate healthcare reform for our community,” said Dr. Tom Ortiz, who is a founding member of the Greater Newark Health Care Coalition and Chair of its Provider Subcommittee. Dr. Ortiz is the founder and Medical Director of Forest Hill Family Health Associates and is the first Latino President-Elect of the NJ Academy of Family Physicians.
The summit is a partnership between the City of Newark’s Department of Family and Child Well Being, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center/St. Barnabas Health Care Systems, University Hospital/UMDNJ, St. Michael’s Medical Center/Catholic Health East, Forest Hill Family Health Associates, Urban Primary Care Physicians Association, Visiting Nurses Association, New Jersey Appleseed, Seton Hall Health Law Project, Newark Community Health Centers, Prudential, the DCFWB as a local public health entity and the DCFWB HRSA Homeless Healthcare Project and other health organizations.
“My responsibility is to use New Jersey high technology as a vehicle for educating at least 5,000 doctors, in the state of New Jersey, in the usage of electronic health records during the next 24 months. This will require a massive effort across the state, principally in North Jersey, where our targeted population is to really assist primary care providers and give primary care to underserved, uninsured, lower income and senior citizens and all of the people who are clustered together in this metropolitan area. I think the Mayor is visionary in his commitment to this important healthcare issue,” said William J. O’Byrne, Executive Director for New Jersey Health Information Technology Reason Exchange at NJIT
“I’m really excited for this opportunity to meet other primary car physicians and be the initial part of the Obama Health Care Initiative. His vision for primary care physicians, especially for non-reserved areas so I think it’s a very exciting time for us to asses our needs and our needs to serve the community. I think right now we are in a crisis mode because the needs are over whelming but the offices and the staff is just extremely understaffed to meet these needs so if we can meet together as a group and try to coordinate a more efficient way to deliver health care. I think our communities are at extreme risk right now,”said Dr. Sushama Srivastava. She has been a Primary Care Physician at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center for about 15 years.
Newark is one of a few municipalities nationwide that provides uninsured City residents access to affordable, quality healthcare. In addition, the City’s partnership with Heinz Family Philanthropies has resulted in Newark RX and Newark Health Plus, which provide discounted prescription drugs and access to primary medical care. Additional extensive services include, but are not limited to, pediatric care, an adult medical practice, communicable disease control and prevention, a dental clinic, a LEAD prevention program that provides a continuum of care including inspections, abatements, case management and interim housing, health care for the homeless, and a WIC program. These services are largely supported by local, state and federal funding including philanthropic organizations, such as the world-reknowned Kresge Foundation, which has contributed $1.5 million in funding to support the City of Newark’s “Getting the Lead Out” initiative.
For more information about any City of Newark program or policy, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
Contact: Newark Press Information Office: (973) 733-8004
About the City of Newark, New Jersey
Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.
With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, businesses are returning and crime is going down. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.