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

At the peak of the pandemic New Jersey-primarily based RWJBarnabas experienced an approximated one,800 COVID-19 inpatient cases. 

At the peak of the pandemic, New Jersey-primarily based RWJBarnabas Health had an approximated one,800 COVID-19 inpatient cases. 

Now that the surge has subsided to the point that the community is handling significantly less than one hundred inpatients with the virus, president and CEO Barry Ostrowsky believes his workforce is not only established up to recuperate from the previous surge of cases, but also positioned for future growth. 

“We had been fortunate we in no way experienced to make severe selections concerning and among sufferers,” Ostrowsky said. “And while it was a wrestle to make sure that we experienced ample gear, and ample PPE, and ample medicines, we had been, in simple fact, equipped to get by way of it. But I wouldn’t be candid if I advised you there weren’t nights and weekends and times where by we arrived dangerously shut to declaring ‘We really don’t have what we have to have.'”

The system’s endurance by way of the pandemic can be attributed to a few most important resources: the leadership’s administration philosophy, the tricky get the job done of the clinicians and a sturdy fiscal setting prior to the outbreak. 

RWJBarnabas has been lucky enough not to have furloughed or laid off staff customers during or immediately after the pandemic, Ostrowsky said. 

“The plan that I founded is that our communities have experienced ample and I am not likely to develop extra unemployment for the extremely communities that are suffering,” he said. “To the extent we have to defer some initiatives, maybe that’s what we are going to have to do. But I am not in a placement to endorse a reduction in workforce just to make the financials search that a great deal superior.”


Further than making certain occupation stability for its staff, RWJBarnabas relied on its healthcare staff to get by way of the hardest times. 

If just one medical center in the community was struggling with larger volumes and desire, staff from other amenities switched spots to assist. Workforce customers cross-skilled in new positions to relieve some of the burden. Clinicians stepped into leadership roles and shaped treatment groups to take care of the elevated workload. 

“From a administration standpoint, sometimes the best administration is to get out of the way and permit the clinicians do the get the job done,” Ostrowsky said.

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

The community is even leaning on its staff to assist formulate programs for the probability of a next wave. 

At the onset of the first surge, Ostrowsky requested everybody to maintain a diary of their ordeals performing during the pandemic. The procedure is now employing the particular stories of its staff to direct the way for its resurgence strategy. 

“The resurgence plan we have is a good just one, of training course. It truly is informed by the ordeals that we had been equipped to codify in authentic time when it was occurring,” Ostrowsky said. “I really don’t want to have to employ it, but if it receives to the point where by the desire for inpatient treatment is these, I am pretty self-confident about it.”

Monetary Effects

Like most hospitals and health methods, RWJBarnabas’ finances had been noticeably impacted by the pandemic. The products and services that produced most of their profits had been halted, and even the federal assistance they acquired was not ample to make up for the misplaced earnings. 

But what has demonstrated to be a important portion of the network’s recovery is having a sturdy balance sheet prior to the pandemic started, according to Ostrowsky. 

That, along with having a diversified health procedure that was equipped to generate profits during the lockdown by way of virtual treatment, was equipped to cushion RWJBarnabas’ finances during a period of time of hardship. 

“So if you put all that with each other, it can be not as though you appear out unscathed. You do, of training course, have weaker fiscal final results, but no weaker resolve to go after the mission,” Ostrowsky said. “I assume we are fortunate ample to have been, as I say, blessed with a balance sheet that permitted us to carry on.”


As the health procedure begins its subsequent stage immediately after COVID-19, it has started to search for out new partnerships. In September it signed a definitive arrangement to combine with Saint Peter’s Health care Method. 

The two methods will get the job done with each other to develop a one,000-mattress educational healthcare heart throughout numerous campuses that Ostrowksy hopes will develop into a “national vacation spot” for a wide variety of packages and research. 

RWJBarnabas is also getting ready to announce a definitive arrangement to purchase Trinitas Regional Clinical Heart immediately after the two signed a letter of intent final 12 months. 

Also, the community has started pursuing ambulatory treatment internet sites to purchase, figuring out that those spots will host a important sum of treatment moving forward. 

In the conclude, what Ostrowsky characteristics the network’s survival to is the “heroic” get the job done that his scientific staff carried out in excess of the training course of the pandemic. 

“There was no way that we had been likely to permit them down by producing conclusions that would negatively effect not only their morale, but the electrical power they brought to treating sufferers,” he said. “So that’s how we bought by way of it.” 

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