New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver And Elected Leaders Show Support For Funding To Study New University Hospital Facility

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  • Posted on: 04/14/2021

NEWARK, NJ – On Wednesday, April 14, New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver and other state and local officials visited University Hospital (UH) and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (Rutgers NJMS) to express their support for funding within Governor Murphy’s Budget for planning efforts to define a new University Hospital facility in Newark. The Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget contains a specific $500,000 line item for such funding.

Joining Lt. Governor Oliver at the announcement were University Hospital President and CEO Shereef Elnahal, MD, MBA; Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian L. Strom; Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka; Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.; and New Jersey State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz.

“As we move forward in our recovery from COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of the critical role that our health care system plays in the state. That is why Governor Murphy’s budget includes significant quality of life investments to help make New Jersey a healthier place to live for all our residents,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “This proposed funding for University Hospital, for a study to explore a new plan and design for its physical campus here in Newark, is going to help address the hospital’s needs and allow it to improve the delivery of care that our communities so heavily rely on, especially as we endure this pandemic.” 

The current 519-bed University Hospital opened in 1979 and has been relying on its aging infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the community it serves. In 2020, University Hospital handled 83,122 emergency department visitors, 15,572 inpatient admissions, and 199,804 outpatient clinic visits. As the Level 1 Trauma Center for Northern New Jersey, the institution and the community would also benefit from new and expanded capacity to deliver comprehensive care for its patients.

As the principal teaching hospital for all Newark-based medical education, a new University Hospital facility will also serve as a model for the future of academic medicine and public health, providing a premier regional resource for advanced services across many medical specialties.

“Since the Newark Accords were signed, it has been on University Hospital to deliver for Newark and Essex County, first and foremost,” said Shereef Elnahal, MD, MBA, President and CEO of University Hospital. “With the growing primary care needs of our community, health equity lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, a budding, post-pandemic mental health crisis, and the community’s demand for more comprehensive and specialized care, our current facilities are bursting at the seams. A new, modern facility will allow us to meet and exceed these needs, in our quest to build a thriving and modern biomedical campus. We have also proven worthy of these investments – with marked improvements in quality, financial performance, regulatory compliance, and near-universal achievement of all tasks placed upon us in the Governor's 2018 Monitor's Report – and are poised to design and execute on a new campus for the community we serve. We thank Governor Murphy and our state, county and local leaders for their steadfast support as we continue to plan the future of University Hospital.”

“The Governor’s proposed budget allows us an opportunity to study what an academic health center should look like in the 21st century and how it can serve Newark and its surrounding communities,” said Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH. “As we dream about what a new University Hospital could look like, Rutgers will continue our important work with the City of Newark, like partnering with the city on the COVID-19 pandemic response, conducting robust and life-changing research, and delivering quality patient care across a spectrum of specialties within the region.”

In recent years, the Hospital has seen dramatic improvements in the quality of care delivered to patients and the financial performance of the operations. Compared to 2018, UH has achieved significant improvement in its quality measures across an array of common Hospital Acquired Conditions, including central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) by 40.3%; catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) by 47.1%; C. difficile by 22.6%; and Surgical Site Infection by 86.2%. UH has also improved the efficiency of its care delivery, decreasing Length of Stay by 7.3%, and meeting the Vizient national benchmark of other complex academic medical centers throughout the country.

Simultaneously, and without compromising care, the Hospital’s leadership team has keenly focused on operational efficiency, achieving results that the State’s Monitor called for in 2018. Year to date, UH has grown its EBITDA to over 6%, a measure frequently cited by rating agencies. Through careful control of expenses and smart capital investments, UH now boasts positive bottom-line results after several years in the negative.

These improvements will have a direct and positive effect on publicly reported recognitions, such as Leapfrog, Hospital Compare and CMS Value Based Purchasing. Completing over 90% of the State Monitor’s recommendations and invigorated by the momentum built over these last few years, the Hospital is destined for excellence, which will continue to be reflected in future reporting that includes more recent data.

“An expansion of University Hospital would help improve access to healthcare and services for our Newark residents, while continuing to build upon the strong commitment to our community,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “I’m thankful for Dr. Elnahal’s vision and for the leadership of Governor Murphy, our State legislators, County and local partners for believing in the significance of the support this brand new facility can bring for so many families and further strengthen our entire health and medical community, especially as we emerge from the pandemic.”

“I want to thank Governor Murphy for allocating money in his proposed budget to start the planning process of creating a new campus for University Hospital in Newark,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “The hospital has been an essential resource promoting the health of our residents and contributing greatly to the economic stability of Newark and Essex County. Developing new infrastructure is long overdue and will enable UH to continue to provide quality health, medical and emergency care for future generations.”

“University Hospital has been and continues to be an anchor institution in the City of Newark and a New Jersey state asset,” said New Jersey State Senator Teresa Ruiz. “This tangible first step, assigning funds to explore expanding their facilities, creates a pathway to establishing it as a premiere hospital which is both critically needed and a long overdue promise to my community. A new facility doesn’t solely open its doors to offering patients a better healthcare experience, it can create opportunities to expand the footprint of services offered and attract research funding. With the ongoing critical financial support from the state, UH will continue to be a place that offers equity in healthcare and will become one of the country’s best biomedical campuses.”

“For over 40 years, the current University Hospital facility has been an integral part of the fabric of Newark and of the State of New Jersey. It has provided care and treatment to hundreds of thousands of people, and served as an invaluable training, education, and research source for medical professionals and students from across the country,” said New Jersey Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin. “The positive growth in the surrounding communities, though, means that the facility now struggles to meet the demands upon it. For the good of the community and the state the time has come to plan for its replacement. A new hospital will allow us to make a better use of space and build with a plan for technology upgrades, for both the present and the future. A fresh facility will also create opportunities to educate more students through the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and further grow our state’s standing as a source of top-notch medical professionals.

“University Hospital is not only a staple fixture in our community, it’s also a part of our history and the primary source of healthcare and vital services that residents in the area rely on,” said Assemblywoman Shanique Speight. “Although UH has done an incredible job to meet the growing needs of the community with limited space, it’s imperative that provisions are made to expand its footing and increase its capacity to adequately serve patients.”

About University Hospital

University Hospital is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers and is the Level 1 Trauma Center for Northern New Jersey. Located at University Heights in Newark, University Hospital is a principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and a regional resource for advanced services across many medical specialties. For more information about University Hospital, please visit

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