CHAPA ruling allows systems to finalize agreement to create unique co-membership
In a step that clears the way for completion of a unique model for health system co-ownership, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Joseph Quinn has accepted New Jersey Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck’s approval of CentraState Healthcare System and Atlantic Health System’s plans to expand their successful partnership. Approved under the Community Health Care Assets Protection Act (CHAPA), the ruling is the final regulatory step needed to complete the co-membership transaction.
When finalized by the two organizations, the co-membership agreement will make Atlantic Health the majority corporate member in CentraState and CentraState will join the Atlantic Health System network of care. The partnership will deliver immediate benefits to patients, physicians and caregivers in CentraState’s communities by strengthening its integrated clinical services, physician network and infrastructure through a capital investment of $135 million, outlined in a five-year plan endorsed by both systems’ boards.
The new model for partnership will provide CentraState with significant resources to support its longstanding community focus while advancing Atlantic Health’s mission to touch more lives in New Jersey through collaborations for high-quality, value-based care. The CentraState board and leadership team will continue to oversee system operations at CentraState and ensure the continued advancement of its mission to enhance health and well-being in its local community through the compassionate delivery of quality health care.
“We are very pleased to have reached this final step in the regulatory process, and looking forward to closing the transaction with Atlantic Health System so that together, we can continue to build upon our programs and services for the health of the community,” said John Gribbin, President and CEO, CentraState Healthcare System.
The partners are already making exciting progress in creating new technical and clinical advancements in care. Within the first few months of 2022, CentraState will implement the Epic electronic health record (EHR) platform across its system. Epic will improve efficiency and safety, by providing physicians with a patient’s full and up-to-date medical record. Once complete, CentraState Medical Center and the system’s other sites of care will join Atlantic Health System on Epic, ensuring that no matter where a patient receives care, their medical information will seamlessly travel with them through the MyChart patient portal.
Physicians in the CentraState network have already joined Atlantic Medical Group, one of New Jersey’s largest physician groups. Effective June of 2021, nearly 50 CentraState physicians and health care professionals gained access to Atlantic Health’s nationally recognized services and programs including risk-based contracting initiatives, which have already delivered better results for patients and proven savings.
“Approval of our partnership with CentraState further supports what we have shown throughout our relationship, that we are committed to keeping patients at the center of every decision as we work together to make care more accessible and convenient for every patient,” said Brian Gragnolati, President and CEO, Atlantic Health System.
CentraState patients will immediately benefit from cutting-edge data analytics capabilities. Based on the clinical experiences from Atlantic Health System’s interactions with nearly one million unique individuals over the last year, these data tools allow caregivers to make more efficient, informed decisions that improve outcomes and reduce costs, as evidenced by the success of the Atlantic accountable care organizations (ACOs). These resources will also accelerate CentraState’s journey from a fee-for-service model of contracting to value-based care.
The pending completion of the co-membership arrangement paves the way for future joint venture opportunities, including ambulatory services and other population health strategies, which will make care more accessible, affordable and convenient for residents in the communities served by CentraState.
The CHAPA ruling is the last regulatory step in a process that began in early 2020 with the signing of a Letter of Intent and continued with last October’s announcement that the two systems had entered into a Definitive Agreement. That work builds upon an already successful clinical affiliation in oncology and neuroscience and existing relationship in the Healthcare Transformation Consortium, designed to provide more affordable health insurance to healthcare system employees across New Jersey.
This latest venture between two of the state’s leading health systems is a clear reflection of their shared mission and values. Both are grounded by strong ties to their local communities, along with longstanding commitments to clinical excellence, engaged physician leadership, and value-based strategies to improve access to high quality, affordable health care. Both systems also take great pride in their exceptional workplace cultures that value the contributions of every team member while promoting award-winning innovation and compassionate care.
The two systems have planned a “signing ceremony” to finalize the new venture, to take place in the coming weeks. Once complete, the new partnership will officially take effect on January 1, 2022.