Rutgers, RWJBarnabas take next step in clinical alignment

Agreement will integrate Robert Wood Johnson Medical School clinical operations in New Brunswick with RWJBarnabas Health medical group practices

Brian Strom, the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, said the university’s relationship with RWJBarnabas Health always has had a higher purpose.

“Our shared goal has always been to be a transformational leader in health care — and it is exciting to continue to see our vision come to fruition,” he said.

That vision was on full display Thursday, when Rutgers University and RWJBarnabas Health took a big step toward integrating the clinical services provided within the university’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the New Brunswick region and RWJBarnabas Health medical group practices through the execution of an integrated practice agreement.

The IPA will create one of the largest integrated health systems in the country — and represents a significant milestone in their mission to build a premier academic health system dedicated to education, research and the delivery of high-quality health care to benefit patients, students and the citizens of New Jersey, both groups said.

The agreement goes into effect July 1.

“Today’s announcement is another step toward integrating Rutgers’ expertise in health innovation and research with RWJBarnabas Health’s experience in the delivery of health care to bring the citizens of New Jersey world-class health care in their own backyard,” Strom said.

RWJBarnabas Health CEO Barry Ostrowsky agreed.

“The longstanding reputation of our two great organizations and the combined strengths of our outstanding clinical practitioners solidify our commitment to invest in the health and wellness of the people in our communities throughout the region,” he said. “I could not be more proud of what we, together with Rutgers, have already achieved and am confident that the future will hold innovative approaches to maintaining good health.”

Under the IPA, all current Rutgers employees in the clinical practices will remain Rutgers employees, and academic leaders in those practices will continue to lead the recruitment of new faculty. RWJBarnabas Health will assume responsibility for the patient experience and administration of the Rutgers Health Robert Wood Johnson Medical School clinical enterprise.

The agreement does not include clinical services provided by Rutgers New Jersey Medical School at University Hospital in Newark. In addition, the current agreement does not include the clinical practices of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which will be integrated at a later date.

Dr. Andy Anderson, CEO of the combined medical group of RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers, said he’s eager to get started.

“It’s an exciting time to lead our combined medical group, as this integration seeks to lead health care delivery and innovation in New Jersey and beyond,” he said. “I look forward to collaborating with our exceptional teams.”

For more information on the pairing, click here.

The announcement is the latest news from the group since they signed a master affiliation agreement to form an integrated academic health system in 2018.

Through the affiliation, Rutgers has been able to grow the research, educatio, and clinical missions of its academic health programs, all housed within Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Accomplishments include:

  • Recruitment of approximately 35 of the world’s foremost researchers in critical health care disciplines, including oncology and neurosurgery;
  • Recruitment of more than 250 clinical faculty at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School, providing care to patients of all types;
  • Major investment in the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, including a joint project to build a $750 million cancer pavilion in New Brunswick;
  • Establishment of a $10 million fund to retain its top medical students and hire them within the shared health system;
  • Development of a state-of-the-art clinical trial infrastructure, which supported COVID-19 vaccine trials by pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, among other critical pandemic studies.