Mountainside Issues “State of the Hospital” Report

June 17, 2010 12:27 PM

Montclair, NJ – Mountainside Hospital recently convened a meeting of state and local government representatives, community leaders and key hospital personnel to report on the “State of the Hospital” three years after its acquisition by Merit Health Systems. John Fromhold, President and CEO, said that despite a challenging operating environment and a severe recession, Mountainside has enjoyed remarkable progress.

“We are building a stronger Mountainside Hospital by focusing on community involvement, physician relationships, the introduction of new services, strategic capital investments and operational efficiency,” Fromhold said. Mountainside currently ranks among New Jersey’s more financially sound hospitals.

Enhanced Quality and Higher Patient Volume
In independent studies and analyses, Mountainside’s patient satisfaction, quality and safety measures have significantly increased, along with usage of both inpatient and outpatient services. Last year, hospital admissions increased by 5% overall, outpatient surgeries increased by 14% and infant births increased by 46%. Since its acquisition by Merit, the hospital’s medical staff has grown by more than 40% and now encompasses more than 600 doctors with diverse specialties. In fact, Fromhold pointed to physician support and involvement as the major contributor to the hospital’s impressive progress.

New Programs and Services
There have been therapeutic and administrative upgrades throughout the hospital, including acquisition of a state-of-the-art, dual-source CT scanner which made Mountainside one of just a few hospitals statewide to offer the high-tech, non-invasive diagnostic tool. Other recent developments include the establishment of successful Hospitalist and Intensivist programs that supplement care for critically and seriously ill patients by providing in-house physicians to work in collaboration with their doctors; a national accreditation and a new agreement with the Cancer Institute of New Jersey for the Mountainside Cancer Center; and designation as a Primary Stroke Center by state health officials. In the past year, the hospital also created a Centralized Scheduling Office to expedite access to outpatient services.

More New Programs to Come
Despite uncertainty related to health care reform and anticipated cutbacks in reimbursement for Medicare, Medicaid and charity care, Mountainside is poised for success, Fromhold said. Upcoming projects include the completion of two hyperbaric wound care chambers this spring; a perinatal services unit for the diagnosis and treatment “at risk” pregnancies to complement a recently established neonatal services unit; expansion of the hospital’s thriving Dialysis Center to accommodate more patients; and creation of a Gero-Psychiatric program to address the needs of elderly patients with diseases that result in dementia and cognitive impairment. A novel initiative to attractive 15 new primary care physicians into the community to minimize the impact of a looming national shortage is also planned.

Economic Impact on the Community
In addition to handling more than 130,000 patient visits last year and providing health screenings and awareness events that reached an additional 10,000 area residents, Fromhold pointed out that Mountainside is a significant contributor to the economic vitality of the community. More than $18 million is spent annually to supplement unreimbursed care for patients with financial hardships and support residency and nursing education programs. The hospital employs more than 1,600 area residents and has an annual payroll of more than $70 million. As a private entity, it currently pays nearly $2 million in taxes each year. “Mountainside Hospital has been part of the fabric of this community for 119 years and I’m proud to report that we are well-positioned to carry on its distinguished tradition of service,” Fromhold said. “With the continued support of the community, our medical team and employees, the best is yet to come.”



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