In what both organizations said is good for the care of residents in long-term care facilities — and could be a coming industry trend — Hackensack Meridian Health announced Tuesday that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell the great majority of its LTCs to Complete Care, while maintaining in interest in patient care.
Despite the change in ownership, both groups are calling the 10-year agreement, which still requires approvals from the state attorney general and Department of Health, more of a unique partnership. They will have a collaborative relationship in which doctors and clinicians in both organizations will meet regularly and work together to ensure a care continuum for hospital patients and residents.
The 11 facilities involved in the transaction:
- Brick Township: Hackensack Meridian Nursing and Rehabilitation;
- Edison: Whispering Knoll;
- Edison: JFK Hartwyck at Oak Tree;
- Hackensack: Regent;
- Holmdel: Hackensack Meridian Nursing and Rehabilitation;
- Holmdel: The Willows;
- North Bergen: The Harborage;
- Ocean Grove: Hackensack Meridian Nursing and Rehabilitation;
- Plainfield: JFK Hartwyck at Cedar Brook;
- Shrewsbury: Hackensack Meridian Nursing and Rehabilitation;
- Wall: Hackensack Meridian Subacute Rehabilitation.
HMH’s nursing and rehabilitation facility in Red Bank is the only facility not included in the deal. HMH will continue to look for a buyer of that facility.
As part of the agreement, approximately 2,100 employees in those facilities will now work for Complete Care, which formerly was headquartered in Howell but is now based in Toms River. They will join the more than 4,000 employees who work at Complete Care’s 36 skilled nursing facilities, four assisted living facilities and one independent living facility in the state.
Hackensack Meridian CEO Bob Garrett called the agreement an “exciting strategic partnership” — and one that represents both the present and the future of the industry.
“If you think about it through the continuum of care, hospitals and health systems already have numerous partnerships in ambulatory care facilities, physician groups, surgery centers, urgent care centers, at-home models — so, why not long-term care,” he said.
“It’s a very important part of the continuum of care — and it’s where we can put our organizations together to do what’s right for patient care.”
Current residents of the Hackensack facilities will not notice a difference in care.
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Complete Care CEO Sam Stein said he’s excited that all existing patients will get the same opportunity.
“To have a relationship with HMH will allow us to provide an even higher level of care,” he said.
And, while patients are not required to use HMH doctors — many will have existing relationships — the ability to work with HMH specialists will bring advantages, Stein said.
“Utilizing HMS doctors in all our of our facilities, and providing services back and forth, is going to result in better outcomes for the patient,” he said.
Stein said Complete Care is eager to promote the partnership.
“It’s huge for us,” he said. “I think patients will be thrilled — even if they come from a different hospital or come from home. The fact that they know that we have this relationship will be tremendous for us.
“Working with such a big hospital system is something that I think is very unique to the industry.”
Garrett said the agreement is part of the future of health care — or, at least a future HMH envisioned when it began its ‘Reimagine Hackensack Meridian Health’ initiative during the campaign.
“We took a look at everything that we had within our health network and, when we looked to the future of our long-term care facilities, we thought the best way forward was to find a partner,” he said.
“The thing I’m most excited about is that Complete Care is New Jersey-based and came out well above the rest of the competition after an exhaustive search process. They represent quality when it comes to long-term care.”
Stein returned the compliment.
“We are honored to enter into this agreement with Hackensack Meridian Health,” he said. “As leaders of our industries, this is a perfect alignment. Complete Care is a family-owned and -operated, New Jersey-based company that shares a commitment to advancing the health and well-being of the senior communities served by the network.”