Rutgers Health Group Begins Operations

October 14, 2016

Dear Members of the RBHS Community:

I am delighted to announce that Rutgers Health Group (RHG) became operational today with its inaugural board meeting. RHG, the faculty group practice of Rutgers, is a foundational component of our plan to become one of the top-tier academic health centers in the country, in collaboration with our affiliated hospitals and community partners.

RHG unites approximately 1,000 clinical faculty from across Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (RCINJ), University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), Rutgers School of Dental Medicine (RSDM), and the School of Nursing (RSN) under one organizational umbrella. An integrated, inter-professional faculty group practice, RHG is a revolutionary organizational structure, unmatched in scope and scale in the United States. RHG will support the faculty in achieving clinical excellence while advancing the missions of RBHS and Rutgers. As it evolves, we anticipate that RHG will expand to include clinical practices from additional RBHS clinical units. The formation of RHG marks the culmination of a highly collaborative, multiyear design and development process involving leadership from all RBHS units and represents a pioneering approach to provider integration among faculty group practices nationally.

RHG is organized as a nonprofit subsidiary corporation of Rutgers University, like the Rutgers University Foundation. As an integrated group practice, it will create a single point of accountability and ensure the consistent delivery of high-quality, cost-effective patient care, while continuing to strengthen our clinical partnerships with affiliated health systems and other providers. It will enhance our ability to negotiate with health care payors and prepare us for the systemic transition to risk-sharing. RHG will navigate through multiple phases of development in the coming months, beginning with the establishment of its governance and leadership structure through full implementation of clinical funds flow and practice management infrastructure.

The RHG board of trustees will guide the organization strategically and operationally and will have fiduciary responsibility for its performance. Further, the RHG board will ensure that the practice meets its obligations to Rutgers in accordance with the new affiliation agreement, which was approved by the Rutgers Board of Governors in June. The board will be composed of clinical and administrative leadership from across Rutgers and RBHS, including institute leaders, clinical department chairs and at-large faculty. The initial RHG board includes the following 15 individuals (listed alphabetically):

  • Joseph G. Barone, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, RWJMS
  • Kathleen Bramwell, MBA, Senior Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, RBHS
  • Cecile A. Feldman, DMD, Dean, RSDM
  • Sherine E. Gabriel, MD, Dean, RWJMS
  • Frank A. Ghinassi, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, UBHC
  • J. Michael Gower, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and University Treasurer, Rutgers University
  • Vicente H. Gracias, MD, Senior Vice Chancellor of Clinical Affairs, RBHS
  • Bruce G. Haffty, MD Interim Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
  • William L. Holzemer, PhD, Dean, RSN
  • Robert L. Johnson, MD, Dean, NJMS
  • Barbara A. Lee, PhD, JD, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rutgers University
  • Susan W. Salmond, EdD, Executive Vice Dean, RSN
  • Justin T. Sambol, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, NJMS
  • Michael S. Sirkin, MD, Professor Orthopaedics NJMS and President, University Physician Associates
  • Vincent B. Ziccardi, DDS, MD, Assistant Dean of Hospital Affairs and Chair, Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, RSDM

Within six months of the formation date, an additional 14 members will be appointed to the RHG board through a formal nomination and appointment process. These appointed members will consist of clinical department chairs and faculty members from various RBHS schools, centers, and institutes.

I am also pleased to announce that Vicente H. Gracias, MD has been appointed to serve as president of RHG. As president, Dr. Gracias will oversee the business and financial affairs of RHG in close collaboration with academic and clinical leadership throughout RBHS, under the direction of the RHG board. With his customary energy and enthusiasm, he will lead RHG through its start-up phase and guide development of the strategic, financial, and operational infrastructure required to support the delivery of patient-centered and value-driven healthcare across RHG’s clinical practices. In this role, Dr. Gracias will also serve as the initial chair of the RHG board and act as the primary liaison with affiliated health systems, payors, and community providers. Dr. Gracias will continue to serve concurrently as the senior vice chancellor for clinical affairs for RBHS, a role he has held since November 2015.

We look forward to the challenges that will accompany the creation of a model academic health center for the 21st Century—one that is driven by a commitment to quality and excellence, inspired by innovation and discovery, and fully dedicated to keeping populations healthy. As RHG continues to evolve over the next 12 to 18 months, we will provide frequent updates on our progress. Thank you for your continued dedication to RBHS, our missions, our patients, and communities we serve.

Sincerely,

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