As the state’s health commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal appointed an independent monitor to oversee University Hospital after the Newark facility’s credit rating was downgraded several times and questions were raised about the quality of care being provided. That monitor was Judith Persichilli, who eventually took over as CEO and later succeeded Elnahal as New Jersey’s top health official. And Elnahal was appointed as CEO at University Hospital in August 2019. So have things been going over the past two-plus years?
Actually, pretty well. Financially, EBITDA is up 10% from 2018 and according to Elnahal, an institution that was once losing $12 million is now $48 million in the black. In addition, University Hospital has earned several honors for the quality of care. Its Center for Advanced Liver Diseases and Transplantation ranked first in New Jersey by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients with a one-year patient survival rate of 98.7%. And Newsweek magazine named to its list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals in 2021, the only one in the New Jersey-New York metropolitan region to be so recognized.
For this installment of NJBIZ Conversations, Editor Jeff Kanige spoke with Elnahal about his efforts to change the culture at the hospital, maintain its role in the community and, of course, whether New Jerseyans can celebrate the holidays safely this year.
“If you are vaccinated and you are certain that everybody else is vaccinated around you, I don’t think it’s irresponsible to get together for Thanksgiving especially,” he said. “It’s all judgment and the most important thing around judgment is to get vaccinated.”
To watch the full interview, click on the image below.