RWJBarnabas Health’s most valuable resource during the pandemic? Its clinicians

At the height of the pandemic New Jersey-based RWJBarnabas had an estimated 1,800 COVID-19 inpatient cases. At the height of the pandemic New Jersey-centered RWJBarnabas experienced an believed 1,800 COVID-19 inpatient circumstances. 

At the height of the pandemic, New Jersey-centered RWJBarnabas Health had an believed 1,800 COVID-19 inpatient circumstances. 

Now that the surge has subsided to the place that the community is controlling significantly less than 100 inpatients with the virus, president and CEO Barry Ostrowsky believes his staff is not only set up to get well from the past surge of circumstances, but also positioned for potential development. 

“We ended up fortunate we never ever experienced to make critical alternatives among and between clients,” Ostrowsky said. “And even though it was a battle to make certain that we experienced adequate devices, and adequate PPE, and adequate medications, we ended up, in point, in a position to get via it. But I wouldn’t be candid if I explained to you there weren’t evenings and weekends and times in which we arrived dangerously close to expressing ‘We never have what we require.'”

The system’s endurance via the pandemic can be attributed to 3 primary resources: the leadership’s management philosophy, the tricky work of the clinicians and a sturdy fiscal placing prior to the outbreak. 

RWJBarnabas has been privileged enough not to have furloughed or laid off employees users through or after the pandemic, Ostrowsky said. 

“The plan that I recognized is that our communities have experienced sufficient and I am not going to build much more unemployment for the incredibly communities that are struggling,” he said. “To the extent we have to defer some jobs, possibly that’s what we’ll have to do. But I am not in a posture to propose a reduction in workforce just to make the financials glance that substantially greater.”


Outside of making certain career protection for its employees, RWJBarnabas relied on its healthcare employees to get via the toughest instances. 

If one healthcare facility in the community was struggling with greater volumes and demand, employees from other services switched locations to assist. Team users cross-experienced in new positions to ease some of the burden. Clinicians stepped into management roles and formed treatment teams to regulate the enhanced workload. 

“From a management standpoint, sometimes the very best management is to get out of the way and permit the clinicians do the work,” Ostrowsky said.

RWJBarnabas CEO and President Barry Ostrowsky
RWJBarnabas CEO and President Barry Ostrowsky

The community is even leaning on its employees to assist formulate programs for the risk of a next wave. 

At the onset of the initial surge, Ostrowsky questioned every person to continue to keep a diary of their activities doing work through the pandemic. The system is now making use of the private tales of its employees to guide the way for its resurgence method. 

“The resurgence prepare we have is a superior one, of course. It truly is informed by the activities that we ended up in a position to codify in real time when it was going on,” Ostrowsky said. “I never want to have to apply it, but if it gets to the place in which the demand for inpatient treatment is this sort of, I am rather assured about it.”

Financial Effects

Like most hospitals and health systems, RWJBarnabas’ funds ended up significantly impacted by the pandemic. The companies that created most of their earnings ended up halted, and even the federal guidance they obtained was not sufficient to make up for the misplaced earnings. 

But what has tested to be a essential aspect of the network’s restoration is possessing a sturdy harmony sheet right before the pandemic began, in accordance to Ostrowsky. 

That, along with possessing a diversified health system that was in a position to produce earnings through the lockdown via virtual treatment, was in a position to cushion RWJBarnabas’ funds through a interval of hardship. 

“So if you set all that together, it is really not as though you come out unscathed. You do, of course, have weaker fiscal effects, but no weaker solve to pursue the mission,” Ostrowsky said. “I imagine we are fortunate sufficient to have been, as I say, blessed with a harmony sheet that authorized us to continue on.”


As the health system commences its subsequent phase after COVID-19, it has begun to find out new partnerships. In September it signed a definitive arrangement to combine with Saint Peter’s Healthcare Technique. 

The two systems will work together to build a 1,000-mattress educational medical center across many campuses that Ostrowksy hopes will become a “nationwide place” for a range of applications and study. 

RWJBarnabas is also preparing to announce a definitive arrangement to receive Trinitas Regional Professional medical Centre after the two signed a letter of intent previous yr. 

On top of that, the community has begun pursuing ambulatory treatment internet sites to receive, recognizing that these locations will host a significant quantity of treatment transferring forward. 

In the conclusion, what Ostrowsky characteristics the network’s survival to is the “heroic” work that his medical employees conducted over the course of the pandemic. 

“There was no way that we ended up going to permit them down by building choices that would negatively impact not only their morale, but the electrical power they introduced to treating clients,” he said. “So that’s how we obtained via it.” 

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