2016 Spring Progress Report

February 29, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

It gives me great pleasure to continue to inform you of some developments of importance to our long-term growth and advancement.

Research

Our outstanding success in obtaining extramural funding for research has continued. As I reported to you last fall, extramural research awards increased from $221M in FY 2014 to $271M in FY 2015, an increase of 22.6%. Awards through the first two quarters of FY 2016 total $175M. This is 25% more than the first two quarters in FY 2015. This good news plus the increase of $2B in National Institutes of Health funding approved by Congress this past December suggests that FY 2016 may be a very good year.

The Rutgers Clinical Enterprise

Senior Vice Chancellor Vicente Gracias, MD, is leading an effort that includes multiple committees, large numbers of faculty, and a consulting firm to develop an integrated, interdisciplinary practice plan for Rutgers. Efforts are underway to develop an organizational structure, governance plan, marketing program, and brand identity for all Rutgers’ clinical operations. This proposed initiative will ensure that Rutgers’ clinical enterprise will thrive in the changing healthcare landscape and be positioned for future success.

Our redesigned clinical enterprise will consist of three integrated components that will connect and represent the clinical units of all of the health-related entities across Rutgers and provide us with geographic reach, cost efficiency, and financial strength. Pending review and approval by the Board of Governors, we’ll proceed with a multiyear initiative that will put us on a path to becoming a premier academic medical center that will be attractive to patients, faculty, and students/trainees. The components of our emerging integrated, inter-disciplinary practice are described briefly below.

I would like to especially thank and recognize all those who have contributed to this effort. For a list of committees and members, please see the following web pages: http://rbhs-stratplan.rutgers.edu/branding and http://rbhs-stratplan.rutgers.edu/designing-multi-professional-faculty-practice-future (scroll to the bottom of each page).

The Three Components of the Rutgers Health Proposal

Rutgers Health

Rutgers Health will be an interprofessional center of excellence encompassing Rutgers clinical entities. It will not be a separately incorporated entity or administrative structure and will not, therefore, duplicate administrative structures that currently exist within member schools/institutes. Membership will include the clinical components of the RBHS schools and units as well as non-RBHS university entities. Rutgers Health will be the single public brand of our unified clinical services and promoted as such.

Rutgers Health Group

The Rutgers Health Group (RHG) will be an integrated multi-specialty, multi-professional faculty practice that will attract and retain the best providers; partner with patients, hospitals, community providers, and other affiliates; and deliver high-quality health care in our region. To date, we have been developing the proposed appropriate governance and committee structure, working on a vision and design principles to guide the practice, and working through finance/funds flow and structure. We anticipate that RHG will be a separate nonprofit subsidiary of Rutgers, consisting of more than 900 providers, and responsible for administration of the clinical practice, including billing and revenue collection.

The Rutgers Health Network

The Rutgers Health Network will be structured as a clinically integrated network, have a corporate relationship with Rutgers, and meet the legal and structural requirements of a Medicare accountable care organization (ACO). It is anticipated that the Network will include the Rutgers Health Group and affiliated hospitals, community practices, and clinical groups that meet the proposed network requirements. Network governance will be provided by an ACO Board, consisting of representatives from member organizations, and guided by an executive administrative team and committees that will address contracts/financial performance; clinical performance; network development, including participation standards; and information management and clinical analytics.

Leadership Searches

I am very pleased to report that we attracted a number of outstanding applicants for each of our Henry Rutgers University Professorships. Searches have been completed for both the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Bioethics/inaugural leader of a new Center for Bioethics and the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health positions. Finalists have made second visits to campus and we hope to announce selections soon.

A search is well underway to replace Christopher Kosseff, President and Chief Executive Officer, University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), who, unfortunately for us, announced he will retire in early March. Again, the search committee reports that we have attracted a pool of extremely strong candidates. Finalists have been selected and will be visiting the campus over the next month or two. In the meantime, I am pleased to report that UBHC’s Chief Operating Officer, Rosemarie Rosati, LSW, has agreed to serve as Interim President and CEO.

Finally, a search is beginning to replace Robert DiPaola, MD, Director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RBHS Vice Chancellor for Cancer Programs, who will be leaving Rutgers at the end of March to assume the position of Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Kentucky. We congratulate Bob and wish him well in his new position. Bruce Haffty, MD, has kindly agreed to assume the role as Interim Director and Interim RBHS Vice Chancellor for Cancer Programs. After eight years under Bob’s leadership, the Cancer Institute is in an extremely strong position and we are optimistic that we will be able to attract an outstanding replacement.

Chancellor Scholars

The Chancellor Scholars Program continues to bring outstanding scientists to Rutgers University. These are academics whose recruitment costs are partially subsidized from strategic development funds. Our goal is to attract to Rutgers highly quality research-oriented faculty through this recruitment effort. Scholars recruited to date include:

  • Manuel Jimenez, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Family Medicine and Community Health, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) (2014)
  • Mark Siracusa, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) (2014)
  • Fredric Wondisford, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine, RWJMS (2015)
  • Sally Radovick, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Senior Associate Dean for Translational Research, RWJMS (2015)
  • Karen Edelblum, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, NJMS (2015)
  • Aimee Beaulieu, PhD, Assistant Professor, NJMS (2016)
  • Molly Erickson, PhD, Assistant Professor, RWJMS (2016)
  • Sherine Gabriel, MD, MSc, Dean, RWJMS (2016)
  • Reynold Panettieri, MD, Inaugural Director, Clinical and Translational Science Institute (2016)
  • Chen Liu, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, NJMS and RWJMS (2016)
  • Mark Einstein, MD, MD, Professor and Chair. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health, NJMS (2016)

If you are in the process of recruiting an outstanding researcher or are aware of colleagues who may be interested in joining us, please contact your department chair and dean.

Honorary Society Membership

As a demonstration of increasing institutional stature, RBHS faculty membership in honorific societies has increased since its inception. For example, prior to the integration of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and Rutgers, only two UMDNJ faculty were elected members of the Association of American Physicians (AAP), a national organization founded in 1885 to promote the advancement of scientific and practical medicine. Individuals are nominated and elected on the basis of their “pursuit of medical knowledge, and the advancement through experimentation and discovery of basic and clinical science and their application to clinical medicine.” This is the highest honorific organization in, primarily, Internal Medicine. There now are eight elected members of the AAP who hold RBHS faculty appointments: Joseph Bertino, MD, Jeffrey Carson, MD, Sherine Gabriel, MD, MSc, Reynold Panettieri, MD, Sally Radovick, MD, Stephen Vatner, MD, Fredric Wondisford, MD, and myself. Jeff and Sherine are newly elected. We congratulate them both and invite you to consider nominating colleagues for awards and honorary societies relevant to your field.

Financial Health

Finally, I am delighted to give you some very positive news about our financial picture. When I arrived in FY 2014, RBHS’s annual projected deficit was more than $50M. Thanks to a partnership forged among RBHS leadership and faculty, our current financial health is dramatically improved. RBHS closed FY 2014 with a deficit of $24M instead of the projected $50M. We began FY 2015 with a budgeted deficit of $20M but successfully closed with a slight positive margin. For FY 2016 (the current year), faced with a 3.7% reduction in state operating funds, increased personnel costs, and a more accurate accounting for our overhead costs associated with RCM, worsening our budget by $27M, we budgeted a deficit of $18.5M. I am happy to report that, despite this, we now are projecting a deficit for the fiscal year of only $5M, due to better fiscal management and the generation of additional clinical and grant revenue on the part of our faculty.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our missions as an academic health center and best wishes for continued success throughout the 2015–16 academic year.

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs