RWJBarnabas Identifies NJ Areas in Need of Better Healthcare

Steve Adubato talks with Barry Ostrowsky, President & CEO of RWJBarnabas Health, about the organization’s social impact and community Investment practices, which can help identify, quantify and prioritize areas in NJ that need better healthcare.

10/20/16 #1912






"Steve Adubato here. We're talking the big picture in healthcare with our good friend Barry Ostrowsky, president and CEO, RWJBarnabas Health. Good to see you Barry. It's good to see you. Thanks for having me Steve. How quickly does this healthcare landscape change in the state and the nation? Well the nation has changed to a great extent already. New Jersey still lags behind in terms of financing healthcare, we're fee for service and open access for the most part, we anticipate that's gonna change over the next five to seven years, placing greater pressure on providers, to live within a financial risk model that doesn't really yet exist. And of course, it's continually putting more pressure on consumers, who are finding out of pocket responsibilities to have been increased. And navigating through a complicated healthcare system is always difficult. So I think we probably, because we've lagged behind in New Jersey in some of these developments, are gonna face a rush of change over the next five to seven years. RWJBarnabas, this significant healthcare system, talks about making communities healthier. Describe it. Well, we think that it's great to be able to help people who are sick, and treat the conditions that they develop. But the real trick, the real mission, the real objective is to avert illness, to stop people from getting sick, or developing these conditions. And the truth is you have to get into the communities to do that. Each of our communities around the state have certain social determinants that in fact result in people getting sick, and so no matter how good we are at treating sickness, if we don't address those determinants, we aren't gonna be, as far as I'm concerned, effective in pursuing the mission. So we've decided our organization, we've decided to come up with a social impact investment policy. Back up. A social impact investment policy? Right. Now the word "healthcare" isn't even in there? That's right. Why? Well, because health is a result of the lack of social impact in certain areas. So if you don't look at the residential quality, if you don't look at unemployment issues, if you don't look at the lack of activity in safe environments, if you don't look at the unemployment rates, if you don't look at folks who would like to be educated but can't be for a variety of reasons, if you don't affect positively those criteria, those issues, then you get bad health. So it's not so much the health in those programs that we'll be looking at, it will be the people. They suffer from certain social determinants which lead to bad health..."