Section: Barnabas Health News

Barry H. Ostrowsky - RWJBarnabas Health President and CEO - Shapes National Strategies for Ensuring Health Access in Vulnerable Communities



West Orange, N.J., December 1, 2016 – The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently unveiled a report outlining a menu of options for communities, hospitals and policymakers to ensure that vulnerable rural and urban communities have access to essential health care services. Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer, RWJBarnabas Health, a member of the AHA Task Force for Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities, and a strong advocate for New Jersey’s vulnerable communities, participated in developing the report.

The Task Force was created by the AHA Board of Trustees in recognition of the challenges facing vulnerable rural and urban communities and the need for new integrated and comprehensive health care delivery and payment strategies. Mr. Ostrowsky and 28 other hospital and health system leaders and state hospital association CEOs across the nation conducted meetings and hearings with policymakers and hospital and community leaders during a 15-month period.

“Many hospitals face challenges maintaining access to health care services in their communities and this report provides a pathway to ensure every hospital has an opportunity to be an access point and an anchor of service,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “The strategies outlined in this report can serve as a roadmap for all communities as hospitals begin to redefine how they provide more integrated care.”

“At RWJBarnabas Health, we recognize that each of the communities we serve is richly diverse, comprised of individuals of all ages from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and religions,” said Mr. Ostrowsky. “By connecting with our communities, we have developed a deeper understanding of the issues and barriers causing health disparities on a local level. We understand that specific ethnic and racial groups are more prone to certain illnesses and diseases and that many encounter language, cultural and socio-economic barriers which may make it more challenging to access appropriate health care.”

RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) has developed unique programs devoted specifically to the local communities. These programs enable care teams to provide culturally-competent care to improve health and wellness and reduce health disparities.

A wide range of highly-specialized programs for RWJBH’s diverse populations includes programs for: the Latino, African American, Russian, Asian, Orthodox and Hindu communities. The system is also committed to offering an inclusive, welcoming environment for all patients regardless of gender or sexual orientation and is a recognized leader in LGBT health care equality. We provide a multitude of services for the disabled, and for those with physical or mental disparities.

In 2017, RWJBH will provide details of a new Social Impact and Community Investment Practice to help support people, particularly more fragile communities, avert illness and make positive lifestyle choices. This endeavor to elicit true change will take years to accomplish, but RWJBarnabas Health is committed to produce a positive change for the communities we serve.

The AHA Task Force report outlines nine emerging strategies that can help preserve access to health care services in vulnerable communities. The nine emerging strategies are: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health; Global budgets; Inpatient/Outpatient Transformation Strategy; Emergency Medical Center; Urgent Care Center; Virtual Care Strategies; Frontier Health System; Rural Hospital-Health Clinic Strategy; and Indian Health Services Strategies. The AHA will work with Congress and CMS to create new payment models to support the successful implementation of the strategies.

The report, with more detailed information on each strategy, case studies and a complete advocacy agenda and assistance strategy, is available at

About RWJBarnabas Health
RWJBarnabas Health is the most comprehensive health care delivery system in New Jersey, with a service area of over 5 million residents. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals: Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, RWJUH in New Brunswick and Somerville, RWJUH Hamilton, RWJUH Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston; three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital (Children’s Specialized Hospital), a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and an accountable care organization.

RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s second largest private employer – with more than 33,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns – and routinely captures national awards for its outstanding quality and safety.

About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes more than 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at

Categories: Press Releases