In a merger likely to change the health care landscape of Hudson County and beyond, Palisades Medical Center officially has become a member of the Hackensack University Health Network.
PMC, which will change its name to HackensackUMC Palisades, becomes the fourth hospital in the network, joining hospitals in Hackensack, Westwood, and Montclair.
The signing ceremony took place at the North Bergen site on Tuesday, March 2 and included executives from the network as well as the mayors of North Bergen, West New York, and Weehawken.
“We are very excited for the future of HackensackUMC Palisades,” said Robert C. Garret, president and chief executive officer of Hackensack UHN. “Our teams look forward to working together to continue a legacy of quality care that Palisades has established.”
Garrett said Palisades will be clinically integrated into the network.
“Both organizations will prosper from this affiliation.” – Bruce C. Garrett
North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, who had been apprised of the potential merger ahead of time, said Palisades has accomplished much in building up its reputation as a quality medical facility since moving to its current waterfront location in 1978.
“Some people criticized its location because they saw the property as valuable for development,” Sacco said. “But this is what people wanted. When I drove down here, it felt very good seeing the new sign [showing the hospital name change].”
“This really represents for us a new beginning,” said Bruce Markowitz, the president and CEO of HackensackUMC Palisades. “This represents a wonderful milestone for Palisades Medical Center and our communities as we become part of the premier healthcare system of New Jersey.”
Markowitz said the network has a total of 1,717 hospital and nursing home beds with more than 10,800 employees and 3,300 doctors.
Garret said the idea for developing a relationship between the two entities started over an informal dinner in late 2011.
“We had a couple of bottles of wine, which helped a little in the conversation,” Garrett joked.
This discussion led to a collaboration that started in 2012 with pediatric cardiology, neonatology, and oncology services.
Under the terms of that agreement, Hackensack University Medical Center’s clinical resources will support Palisades’ existing programs, while also enhancing the overall level of diagnostics, treatment, and technology. Officials at Hackensack University Medical Center say they are also committed to expanding the availability of physicians and to supporting additional specialty care programs.
Deal signed in 2014
In September 2014, the two hospitals announced plans to merge.
Under the agreement, The Hackensack University Medical Center health system acquired Palisades Medical Center in a deal that pumped $50 million into the North Bergen hospital, which could go towards the purchase of equipment, renovating operating rooms and enhancing service, and expands Hackensack’s ever-growing network into Hudson County.
Markowitz called the merger a new milestone for Palisades Medical Center.
“HackensackUMC Palisades is clearly the most prestigious, highest quality, and best health care system, not just in the state of New Jersey, but in the whole region,” Markowitz said.
Garrett said the merger was the result of a series of events that brought the two institutions closer, such as last year’s opening of HackensackUMC’s John Theurer Cancer Center at Palisades Medical Center.
“Both organizations will prosper from this affiliation,” said Garrett. “The biggest winners are the residents of North Bergen and the communities around the Palisade Medical Center.”
West New York Mayor Felix Roque said the move is extremely positive for the community.
Roque, who is also a doctor in West New York, said he has had a working relationship with the hospital management for years.
The merger will add a number of specialty services for cancer treatment, cardiac care, pediatric emergency department services, and maternal fetal medicine.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.