Saint Peter’s hospital seeks potential partnership through RFP process

Saint Peter’s University Hospital is looking for a potential strategic partnership or affiliation, according to an announcement late Tuesday from the hospital.

The New Brunswick-based hospital, which belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen, has long been rumored to be in talks with a number of health systems in the state.

In the announcement, SPUH said there is no deadline or guarantee the request for proposals will result in an alliance or strategic partnership, which leaves room for a merger as well.

“We have an obligation to be good stewards in planning for Saint Peter’s future,” said Les Hirsch, the hospital’s interim CEO and president.

“Through the RFP process, we will evaluate possible options with a focus on finding a strategic partner or affiliate that would allow Saint Peter’s to retain its Catholic mission and identity, remain competitive in the changing health care environment and yield the best possible outcome for its patients, employees, medical staff and communities we serve.”

Documents obtained by ROI-NJ show that, in 2017, Saint Peter’s had a negative operating margin, but was operating with more than 100 days of cash on hand.

The hospital is running on a positive operating margin for 2018.

The hospital’s payer mix is fairly balanced — unlike many that rely heavily on Medicare or Medicaid. In 2017, Saint Peter’s payer mix was about 30 percent Medicare, 22 percent Medicaid, 2 percent commercial, 33 percent HMO, 6 percent charity care and 8 percent from other sources.

The announcement comes after a yearlong strategic review with the hospital’s board of governors and senior leadership as well as the Most Rev. James Checchio, bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen.

“Bishop Checchio has been very supportive during the discernment process and has accepted the recommendation of our board of governors to pursue a strategic partnership or affiliation that would honor Saint Peter’s longstanding commitment to those entrusted to our care,” Hirsch said.