RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers University are partnering to create New Jersey’s largest academic healthcare system. “In this business, scale means everything,” Rutgers President Dr. Robert Barchi said in a conference call last week with reporters. “If you want to deliver first-rate care, perform population health-based research, capitalize what you do across the entire system and bring in talent including community-based physicians, hospital physician groups and academic and research groups, you need scale.” RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest health system with 13 hospitals and annual revenue of $5.1 billion; Rutgers and its health group include 1,000 employed physicians as well as dentists, psychologists, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. The organizations will remain separate corporations.
The Food and Drug Administration last week announced a pilot program to look into new precertification procedures for companies that make software. The agency hopes the initiative will help cut down on the time and money needed to enter the digital health market. Up to nine companies will participate in the program and give the agency advice and feedback on what kinds of protocols could supplant the current requirements for some products. The agency hopes to come up with processes that allow software to change “in a timely fashion.”
The CMS approved a waiver that will allow Maryland hospitals and doctors to enter care-coordination partnerships and share savings stemming from more efficient treatment, according to Nicole Dempsey Stallings, vice president of policy at the Maryland Hospital Association. Such partnerships could trigger federal anti-kickback laws, but the approved plan waives participants’ liability starting July 1. Sixteen hospitals will participate in the Care Redesign Program, and more will be able to join next year.