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Foundation Aims to Cure Jersey’s Lack of Innovative Health Care

Newark, NJ, February 28, 2016 ― Anjalee Khemlani reports in NJBIZ Safety-net hospitals are like the Cinderellas to their suburban stepsisters, and The Nicholson Foundation is their fairy godmother in New Jersey.

The foundation, in a partnership with the California-based Center for Care Innovations, hosted an innovation fair at the Panasonic U.S. headquarters in Newark last week as part of a multiphase process to identify solutions to common safety-net problems.

Problems include low literacy, low income, language barriers, senior health issues, those without access to personal transportation, as well as identifying vulnerable populations by ZIP codes, according to Veenu Aulakh, co-director of CCI.  

It also includes those populations that aren’t the best payers for health care, including Medicare, Medicaid and charity care patients.

Aulakh said that, though the efforts were good, many projects were reinventing the wheel.

Joan Randell, chief operating officer of the foundation, said it was interesting watching the New Jersey organizations transition through the process of first identifying an issue, and then later discovering their problems were different from what they first thought.

“For innovation, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, you just have to think of things in a different way,” Randell said. “We want them to begin to change the culture in their institutions, to find a different way to solve their problems.”

The “New Jersey Innovation Catalyst Initiative” is designed to help safety-net health care organizations solve problems by thinking and working differently, considering what’s possible rather than just what’s feasible, according to the CCI website.

Eight teams, from eight safety-net health systems and organizations, presented their first phase, funded by a $10,000 grant, and were competing for passage into the second phase of implementing their ideas with an additional $25,000 in funding.

Participants include CompleteCare Health Network, Henry J. Austin Health Center, New Jersey Primary Care Association, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Visiting Nurse Association Health Group Inc. and Hospital Alliance of New Jersey. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center was originally a participant, but did not present at the fair.

For Khemlani’s full NJBIZ story, click here.