RWJBarnabas Health’s most valuable resource during the pandemic? Its clinicians

At the height of the pandemic New Jersey-based RWJBarnabas had an approximated 1,800 COVID-19 inpatient

At the height of the pandemic New Jersey-based RWJBarnabas had an estimated 1,800 COVID-19 inpatient cases. At the height of the pandemic New Jersey-based RWJBarnabas had an approximated 1,800 COVID-19 inpatient situations. 

At the height of the pandemic, New Jersey-based RWJBarnabas Health had an approximated 1,800 COVID-19 inpatient situations. 

Now that the surge has subsided to the stage that the network is running fewer than 100 inpatients with the virus, president and CEO Barry Ostrowsky thinks his crew is not only set up to get well from the earlier surge of situations, but also positioned for upcoming growth. 

“We were being blessed we never had to make severe decisions among and among the people,” Ostrowsky mentioned. “And although it was a struggle to ensure that we had sufficient machines, and sufficient PPE, and sufficient prescription drugs, we were being, in fact, in a position to get by way of it. But I wouldn’t be candid if I advised you there were not nights and weekends and days wherever we came dangerously near to declaring ‘We really don’t have what we want.'”

The system’s stamina by way of the pandemic can be attributed to a few primary resources: the leadership’s administration philosophy, the tough do the job of the clinicians and a strong money location prior to the outbreak. 

RWJBarnabas has been lucky enough not to have furloughed or laid off employees associates during or just after the pandemic, Ostrowsky mentioned. 

“The policy that I proven is that our communities have suffered adequate and I am not likely to create extra unemployment for the really communities that are suffering,” he mentioned. “To the extent we have to defer some tasks, most likely that’s what we will have to do. But I’m not in a placement to recommend a reduction in workforce just to make the financials glance that much improved.”


Beyond making certain work stability for its personnel, RWJBarnabas relied on its healthcare employees to get by way of the hardest periods. 

If a person healthcare facility in the network was facing larger volumes and demand, personnel from other services switched areas to support. Group associates cross-properly trained in new positions to ease some of the stress. Clinicians stepped into leadership roles and formed treatment groups to take care of the enhanced workload. 

“From a administration standpoint, often the best administration is to get out of the way and let the clinicians do the do the job,” Ostrowsky mentioned.

RWJBarnabas CEO and President Barry Ostrowsky
RWJBarnabas CEO and President Barry Ostrowsky

The network is even leaning on its employees to support formulate plans for the chance of a next wave. 

At the onset of the preliminary surge, Ostrowsky questioned most people to preserve a diary of their ordeals performing during the pandemic. The method is now utilizing the personal tales of its personnel to guide the way for its resurgence technique. 

“The resurgence strategy we have is a fantastic a person, of system. It can be informed by the ordeals that we were being in a position to codify in genuine time when it was taking place,” Ostrowsky mentioned. “I really don’t want to have to implement it, but if it receives to the stage wherever the demand for inpatient treatment is these kinds of, I’m fairly self-assured about it.”

Fiscal Effects

Like most hospitals and well being programs, RWJBarnabas’ funds were being considerably impacted by the pandemic. The services that created most of their profits were being halted, and even the federal guidance they acquired wasn’t adequate to make up for the shed earnings. 

But what has tested to be a essential element of the network’s recovery is acquiring a strong balance sheet ahead of the pandemic started, according to Ostrowsky. 

That, along with acquiring a diversified well being method that was in a position to produce profits during the lockdown by way of virtual treatment, was in a position to cushion RWJBarnabas’ funds during a time period of hardship. 

“So if you put all that alongside one another, it truly is not as although you appear out unscathed. You do, of system, have weaker money outcomes, but no weaker take care of to go after the mission,” Ostrowsky mentioned. “I assume we are blessed adequate to have been, as I say, blessed with a balance sheet that allowed us to keep on.”


As the well being method starts its following period just after COVID-19, it has started to request out new partnerships. In September it signed a definitive arrangement to integrate with Saint Peter’s Healthcare Procedure. 

The two programs will do the job alongside one another to make a 1,000-mattress tutorial clinical centre throughout several campuses that Ostrowksy hopes will come to be a “nationwide spot” for a variety of courses and study. 

RWJBarnabas is also getting ready to announce a definitive arrangement to receive Trinitas Regional Healthcare Centre just after the two signed a letter of intent past yr. 

Additionally, the network has started pursuing ambulatory treatment sites to receive, knowing that those areas will host a significant sum of treatment transferring forward. 

In the stop, what Ostrowsky attributes the network’s survival to is the “heroic” do the job that his clinical employees carried out about the system of the pandemic. 

“There was no way that we were being likely to let them down by generating selections that would negatively impression not only their morale, but the electrical power they introduced to managing people,” he mentioned. “So that’s how we got by way of it.” 

Twitter: @HackettMallory
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