Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital, both part of the city’s public hospital system, plan to come together.
The hospitals have both applied to be on the same NYS Department of Health operating certificate, which would essential create one hospital on two campuses, hospital officials said.
The two hospitals, both part of the NYC Health + Hospitals, shared much of the same staff and formed the North Bronx Health Network for a time, and merger of the operating license would be a step towards further standardization of the two hospitals, said hospital officials.
“We are looking to reduce some of the regulatory hurdles that we face,” said Christopher Mastromano, CEO of Jacobi and NCBH. “We are already share a medical staff between both, so now we are just looking to combine in total all the services that already exist into a single operating certificate.”
The hospitals should know by this fall if their plan to operate under a single certificate is approved, said Jacobi Medical Center spokesman John Doyle, adding that medical staff has been shared for 20 years.
“There are no bed count, staff or service reductions planned as part of this merger,” said Doyle.
The single operating certificate would let doctors who have to work at both facilities do so without being credentialed twice, said Mastromano.
Doctors travel to where they are most needed, and many may not want to go through the onerous task of applying to be credentialed twice, which is currently mandatory, explained Mastromano.
Reporting and regulatory reviews would be consolidated to single reports from two separate reports, said Mastromano.
Patients should be able to move more freely between the two hospitals, which share clinical and other facilities, hospital officials said.
“If we want to transfer a patient from one facility to another today, they have to be discharged at one facility, (have) all new paperwork, and then be readmitted at another facility,” said Mastromano. “When we combine them, it is just a computer move…it could just happen so much easier.”
A single, larger hospital should also put both NCBH and Jacobi in a better position with suppliers when purchasing clinical equipment, said Cristina Contreras, NCBH executive director.
North Central Bronx Hospital opened in 1976 in response to community concern when two older city hospitals, Fordham Hospital and Morrisania Hospital, were designated for closure.
The staff of the former hospitals moved to the new hospital, said Contreras.
“This is very positive for NCBH,” said Contreras, adding that the streamlining would allow for further growth of the hospital.
In order to support the NCBH, additional staff are currently being hired, said Mastromano, adding the hospital in Norwood is recruiting new primary care physicians and doctors in pediatric, ambulatory care, vascular surgery.
“We want to move as much ambulatory surgery as we can from Jacobi and have it done at NCBH,” said Contreras. “It increases efficiency there, they are very good at it (and) the patients will be happier.”
“It is a win-win for everyone,” she said.