For Immediate Release
April 22, 2015
Contact Information

Saint Michael's Medical Center
Dawn Costantini, Interim Director of Communications Marketing and Public Relations,

(BPRW) Save Saint Michael's Medical Center

-- Coalition formed to stop plans to close a hospital that has served the community for nearly 150 years --

(BLACK PR WIRE) -- NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Since its inception in 1867, Saint Michael’s Medical Center has been a pillar in the Newark community. When other hospitals picked up and moved to more desirable zip codes, Saint Michael’s chose not to abandon its community.

When the civil disturbance in the summer of 1967 nearly brought the city to ashes, Saint Michael’s rose through the ashes to help rebuild and heal the community.

Saint Michael’s is the oldest established hospital in Newark, a city that is once again vibrant and growing both residentially as well as commercially. Saint Michael’s is needed now more than ever.

Yet a recently released report commissioned by the state has recommended the hospital be converted to an ambulatory center. This report was developed by a group of consultants who neither live in nor work in the greater Newark Area. Moreover, this report looks at past data without much consideration for the city’s projected growth.

In response to this report, the Save Saint Michael’s Medical Center Coalition was formed by various supporters of the hospital—employees, physicians, patients, local residents, business owners, and elected officials—to have their voices heard, which are in direct contrast to the findings of this report.

To date, there are well over 19,000 signatures from residents of Newark and surrounding communities who are asking elected officials to protect and preserve wishes and hopes of a Newark community that can still maintain a choice in their healthcare. Additionally, the Newark Municipal Council and the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders have both passed resolutions in support of keeping Saint Michael’s open as an acute-care hospital.

“Our country was founded on the freedom to choose. But without Saint Michael’s, Newark residents would effectively have no choice for healthcare other than one hospital/healthcare system,” said Alexander Salerno, M.D., a board-certified second-generation internist who has been affiliated with Saint Michael’s Medical Center since 2002.

“Imagine the state’s largest city only having one healthcare system to serve all its residents and the 100,000 daily commuters who come to work in the city every day. It is ironic that a city as racially diverse as Newark can at the same time have a “one-size-fits-all” hospital. Can you imagine life with just one cell phone carrier, one airline, one bank? Can you imagine the unchecked elixir of power that can result in the loss of checks and balances that come with having hospitals compete,” said Salerno.

If Saint Michael’s were to close, Newark would lose a hospital deeply rooted in the community. Saint Michael’s has led the way in extending its services beyond its walls to fulfill its promise and mission. For more than a decade, Saint Michael’s has supported the Senior Health Outreach Program, which was founded by Salerno, and has brought healthcare into the homes of urban community seniors and home bound patients.

“While other hospitals expect patients to come to them, Saint Michael’s realizes it is not enough to serve the community. Healthcare needs to be delivered in senior housings developments, low-income housing developments, in behavioral health centers, in churches and congregations. This is what a community hospital does; it creates programs that go out into the community and serves its people, many of whom are the uninsured and underserved.” said Salerno.

Saint Michael’s reach extends well beyond Newark into surrounding communities in Essex, Bergen, Union and Hudson counties. “Saint Michael’s is a teaching hospital with a full array of primary care, and secondary and tertiary specialties, including comprehensive cardiovascular, oncology, endocrinology, pulmonary, and infectious disease services, just to name a few,“ says David A. Ricci, president and CEO, Saint Michael’s Medical Center. “Many of our patients travel from surrounding areas seeking our services, and that patient choice is at jeopardy.“

In February 2012, Saint Michael’s Medical Center signed an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) with Prime Healthcare to help sustain its ministry. It is currently awaiting the state to approve the sale of the hospital, so it can continue to serve as a high-quality, acute-care hospital well into the future.

The Save Saint Michael’s Medical Center Coalition continues its efforts to urge the state to move the sale of Saint Michael’s to Prime Healthcare forward. Saving Saint Michael’s isn’t about politics, it is about securing fundamental rights; the right to choice. And the people of the greater Newark area choose to keep Saint Michael’s open, serving patients for the next 150 years.

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About Alexander Salerno, M.D/M.H.A

Alexander Salerno, M.D./M.H.A., is a board-certified second-generation internist who has been affiliated with Saint Michael’s Medical Center since 2002. He is the founder of the Senior Health Outreach Program (SHOP) and the Urban Healthcare Initiative Program (UHIP) whose focus has been on population health and bridging disparities in healthcare outcomes.

About Saint Michael’s Medical Center

Established by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in 1867, Saint Michael’s Medical Center is a 357-bed regional tertiary-care, teaching, and research center in the heart of Newark’s business and educational district. Saint Michael’s Medical Center is currently a member of CHE-Trinity Health.

About Prime Healthcare

Prime Healthcare is an award-winning national hospital system with 34 acute-care hospitals providing more than 35,000 jobs in 11 states. Based in California and one of the largest hospital systems in the country, Prime Healthcare is committed to ensuring access to quality healthcare. It has been recognized as among the “100 Top Hospitals“ in the nation 33 times and among the “15 Top Health Systems“ three times, and is the only “10 Top Health System“ west of the Mississippi. Our hospitals have been recognized by The Joint Commission among the “Top Performers on Key Quality Measures“ in 2014.

Source: Saint Michael’s Medical Center

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