After a three-year wait for state approval, Prime Healthcare Services announced today that it has finally acquired Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark.
The California-based company also announced Robert Iannaccone is replacing David Ricci as the hospitals CEO.
“Prime Healthcare looks forward to working with the physicians, nurses and employees at Saint Michael’s Medical Center to ensure the best care for the patients they serve,” said Prem Reddy, MD, FACC, FCCP, Chairman, President and CEO of Prime Healthcare Services. “We believe that every community deserves exceptional healthcare close to home. Prime Healthcare hospitals are consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the nation, and we have no doubt that Saint Michael’s Medical Center will continue that legacy.”
Saint Michael’s is a 357-bed acute care hospital located in the Central Ward of Newark in the heart of Newark’s business and educational district. Saint Michael’s is also a major teaching hospital affiliated with New York Medical College. The hospital serves Newark and the surrounding community with key service lines including cardiology and cancer treatment.
Iannaccone has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership and operational experience in the New Jersey market. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of Cardiovascular Services at Barnabas Health. Prior to his successful tenure there, he worked for St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic, (a Prime Healthcare facility) as executive vice president/chief operating officer, where he was instrumental in the consolidation of two hospitals resulting in the establishment of a sound St. Mary’s.
Earlier in his career, Iannaccone worked for the Raritan Bay Medical Center as its executive vice president and chief operating officer and Atlantic Health System in senior executive roles responsible for strategy, development and operations, as well as Saint Clare’s Denville (another Prime Healthcare facility) where he served as executive vice president of Business Development and Legal Services.
Iannaccone has consulted for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and he served as adjunct professor of health organizations and management at Farleigh Dickinson University Center for Healthcare Management Studies and Silberman College of Business. He received his MBA from Rutgers University School of Business and his law degree from Seton Hall Law School. Robert is also a councilman in Morristown, where he lives with his wife, Karen, and two sons.
“It is an honor and a privilege for me to lead a hospital that has served the community so well for 150 years,” Iannaccone said. “I look forward to working with our employees and medical staff as we begin a new chapter in Saint Michael’s that builds upon our mission of providing quality healthcare to the community.”
Ricci, who served as the hospital’s CEO since July 2011, was praised for leading the hospital during a tumultuous period.
“I want to thank David for providing a steady hand during his tenure at Saint Michael’s,” said Luis Leon, president of Prime Healthcare, Division II. “His leadership over the last three years has helped ensure the success and survival of Saint Michael’s, and we wish him the very best in his future.”
Prime Healthcare’s acquisition comes more than three years after the company first applied to state agencies for approval to purchase the financially struggling hospital. As a result of the delays, the hospital was forced to seek Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. During the bankruptcy proceedings, the hospital was put out to bid and Prime Healthcare submitted a winning $62 million bid, about $12 million more than its original offer. As part of its bid, Prime Healthcare agreed to increase its investment from $25 to $50 million to upgrade technology, services and continue to modernize the hospital over the next five years.
Prime Healthcare has hired substantially all of Saint Michael’s employees and has already reached agreements with the hospital’s three labor unions, which represent more than 780 of the hospital’s 1,357 employees.
The sale of the hospital to Prime Healthcare was widely supported by the community. The Newark City Council, the Belleville Township Council and the Essex County Board of Freeholders all passed resolutions urging the state to approve the sale. In addition, some 50,000 people signed a petition urging the administration of Gov. Chris Christie to approve the sale.
Newark Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, who led the effort to save the hospital, said Saint Michael’s would have surely closed if the purchase was not approved.
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Prime Healthcare has saved Saint Michael’s along with nearly 1,400 jobs that we could not afford to lose in this city,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said. “Instead of an empty hospital building, we will continue to have a thriving hospital in the heart of the Central Ward and Prime Healthcare’s investment of $50 million will ensure our residents will have a state-of-the art healthcare facility that is second to none.”
The Rev. Ronald Slaughter, who led a coalition of ministers advocating the sale, said saving Saint Michael’s was an issue of social justice.
“Prime Healthcare has committed to upholding the Ethical and Religious Directives that were an integral part of Saint Michael’s mission as a Catholic hospital,” Slaughter said. “While Prime Healthcare is not a religious institution, they have demonstrated a commitment at their other hospitals around the country to serving those who are less fortunate.”
With the addition of Saint Michael’s, Prime Healthcare includes 43 hospitals in 14 states with nearly 43,000 employees and physicians. Eleven of the hospitals are members of the Prime Healthcare Foundation, a 501(c) 3 public charity with $800 million in assets all donated by Dr. Prem Reddy and his family. Prime Healthcare hospitals are regularly recognized for high quality care and the health system is one of the fastest growing hospital systems in the United States.