150-year-old N.J. hospital will merge with Capital Health, offer only ER and outpatient care
Taken from NJ.com
By Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
December 8, 2022
St. Francis Medical Center, a nearly 150-year-old institution in Trenton, will offer only emergency room and outpatient services starting Dec. 21, under a recently approved merger agreement with Capital Health, officials announced Thursday.
The deal with St. Francis’ owner, Michigan-based Trinity Health, was finalized in the fall but needed to pass governmental muster.
The New Jersey Department of Health, the state Attorney General’s Office, and a Superior Court judge approved the merger after determining the level of medical service would not diminish in Trenton, the Garden State’s capital city in which 28% of its residents live in poverty.
“Capital Health plans no changes to the care or services currently provided at St. Francis following the relocation of services to Regional Medical Center and will promote access to low-income persons, racial and ethnic minorities, women, disabled persons, the elderly, persons with HIV infections and other persons unable to obtain care,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli wrote in her Nov. 30 approval letter.
The commissioner also wrote that she was persuaded to approve the consolidation because Capital Health is prepared to make job offers to 450 St. Francis full-time employees.
What is now an acute-care hospital will become a stand-alone emergency department. Family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology services will be offered “at or in the vicinity” of the hospital located at 601 Hamilton Avenue for a minimum of five years, according to the health department’s approval letter.
Other services St. Francis provided, such as inpatient beds, surgery, cardiac care, will be absorbed by Capital Health, which operates two acute-care, full service hospitals, Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton and Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell, both located in Mercer County. Capital Health will continue medical services for the prison inmate population, but it will not assume the inpatient psychiatric beds from St. Francis, the letter also said.
Al Maghazehe, President and CEO of Capital Health, said this was no typical hospital takeover. Capital Health is taking a financial risk to protect critical services for the greater Trenton area, he said.
“St. Francis has done many great things for the Trenton community, but the current health care landscape has made it unsustainable. Without these key approvals, Trenton would have lost desperately needed health care services, including emergency services, behavioral health, and cardiac surgery,” Maghazehe said in a statement. “This would be devastating to the residents of Trenton and Central New Jersey.”
Daniel P. Moen, President and CEO of St. Francis Medical Center called the merger “our best alternative” to preserve our mission and creates a more comprehensive healthcare system for the residents of Trenton and Mercer County.
“St. Francis Medical Center has been a proud member of the Trenton community for almost 150 years,” he said.