Most long time residents of Jersey City never really got used to the name Cusack Center when
St. Joseph’s School for the Blind was renamed a few years ago. So the announcement last week that Cusack Center will join in a cooperative arrangement with St. Ann’s Home for Aged under a new name, Peace Care St. Joseph’s, probably won’t come as a shock.
But it is a big deal. The move will make the combined institution the largest nursing home facility in Hudson County, with the two separate but allied institutions providing services to residents throughout the region but primarily to those who live in Jersey City and Bayonne.
Saint Ann’s Home is a 120-bed Catholic nursing home at 198 Old Bergen Road in Jersey City and has been providing for the elderly since 1911, with a large number of its residents coming from the Bayonne area.
Cusack Center – which was renamed after Margaret Anna Cusack, founder of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace – provides what it terms high quality short-term medical and rehabilitative care as well as comprehensive long-term nursing care in a safe and nurturing environment.
Margaret Anna Cusack came the United States in 1884 and by 1905 helped erect the St. Joseph’s Home for the Blind. By 1915 the facility had doubled in size and became the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind.
In the 1970s, the sisters opened a licensed skilled nursing facility at that site. About 20 years ago St. Joseph’s Home for the Blind embarked on an ambitious plan to expand the home, seeking to incorporate the latest advances in medical technology, added 64,000 square feet, and opened the $22 million Margaret Anna Cusack Care Center at St. Joseph’s Home for the Blind in Jersey City in 2002.
On Nov. 1, the announcement came that St. Ann’s Home and Cusack Care Center will unite under Peace Care, Inc. (Peace Care), a new not for profit corporation sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.
“Building on the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Peace Care will lead the way in delivering extraordinary care to all those who walk through our doors.” – George Popko,
The decision to rename Cusack Care Center to Peace Care St. Joseph’s allows Peace Care to promote the critical mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace while recognizing the legacy of Cusack Care Center’s original name, St. Joseph’s Home for the Blind.
United under Peace Care, Peace Care St. Ann’s and Peace Care St. Joseph’s now become the largest not for profit Catholic skilled nursing system in Hudson County with over 400 employees.
“Building on the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Peace Care will lead the way in delivering extraordinary care to all those who walk through our doors,” said George Popko, chief executive officer of Peace Care. “Janet Merly-Liranzo will continue to serve as Peace Care St. Ann’s administrator. Tom Sheehy will continue to lead Peace Care St. Joseph’s as administrator,” said Popko.
The name change and rebranding also positively reflects the wide range of services that each facility offers.
“Peace Care St. Ann’s and Peace Care St. Joseph’s offer remarkable services,” said Sr. Lucille Durso, “including post acute care, outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapies, adult medical day care, residential care, and more. We want to make sure that our new identity continues to build on the breadth and depth of commitment to the people we serve.”
“The formation of Peace Care is a proactive initiative to allow Peace Care St. Ann’s and Peace Care St. Joseph’s to thrive and continue their respective missions of care and service to the community,” said Michael D’Agnes, vice-chairman of the board of Peace Care.
Extending the reputation for service
Peace Care intends to continue building on the legendary reputation that Peace Care St. Ann’s and Peace Care St. Joseph’s have earned over the years for delivering exceptional faith-based residential, sub-acute care and services to all who walk through their doors.
Popko said the two nursing facilities aren’t combining, they will just become more closely associated.
“This makes sense, since they are both run by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, as is Holy Name Medical Center, York Street Project and the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind.”
This comes at a time when a number of medical facilities in and around Hudson County are becoming affiliated with other medical organizations to provide expanded services to their population, he said.
“So this is just to position our two nursing home facilities to continue to provide the excellent service and quality,” he said. “Both have shown they have staying power in the Hudson County.”
He said healthcare demands are growing and the two facilities will be working closely with hospitals as well as individuals to provide services that include post-surgery aftercare.”
Although the differences between the two facilities are subtle, St. Ann has been associated with service involving wound care, and Cusack with orthopedic care.
“The idea is to avoid duplications of specialties,” he said. “We continue to be actually the only non for profit skilled nursing home system in the county, and follow the Catholic tradition.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.