Letter of INTENT signed by rwjbarnabas health and saint peter’s healthcare system

The LOI is the first step in the process of evaluating and designing a new relationship that will enhance health care services for residents in central New Jersey. The structure of the relationship has not yet been decided.

RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s most comprehensive academic health care system with a service area of nine counties covering five million people.  The system includes 11 acute care hospitals, three acute care children’s hospitals, and a renowned pediatric rehabilitation hospital, among many other facilities.  RWJBH has a partnership with Rutgers University, creating New Jersey’s largest academic health care system.

Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen is the flagship of Saint Peters Healthcare System that also includes the Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s.  Saint Peter’s is one of a few independent Catholic hospitals in the country sponsored by a Roman Catholic diocese.

Under the terms of the LOI, the role of Saint Peter’s as a full-service provider of acute health care services for the greater Middlesex County community would be enhanced.  RWJBH would make significant investments in Saint Peter’s and expand the network of outpatient services currently provided by Saint Peter’s, resulting in an even higher level of care for the community.  Saint Peter’s would remain a Catholic institution and continue to abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. 

The parties have been in discussions for some time and share a common perspective and culture regarding providing high quality, cost-effective services to their communities consistent with their respective missions and the need to move in the direction of population health management.

According to Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, “The rapid consolidation of hospitals in New Jersey and need for greater scale, as well as ongoing changes in health care delivery made it vital for us to identify a dynamic and strong strategic partner that would allow Saint Peter’s to retain its Catholic mission and identity, remain competitive, and yield the best possible outcome for our patients, employees, medical staff and the communities we serve. Working in partnership with RWJBarnabas Health would give us an opportunity to enhance the unique strengths of both organizations.” 

The Most Reverend James F. Checchio, JCD, MBA, who as Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen is the sole member of the corporation, affirmed his support of the recommendation of the board of governors to pursue the partnership, saying, “As an independent institution for the last 112 years, Saint Peter’s has helped to fulfill the Church’s mission of healing in an extraordinary way while making Christ’s love and mercy known to people of all ages and backgrounds, from conception to natural death. Through this proposed strategic partnership, Saint Peter’s will be strengthened to continue to serve those who are in need of – and greatly benefit from – the excellent, accessible, and life-affirming care intrinsic to Saint Peter’s Catholic identity and mission. This partnership will also position Saint Peter’s to continue caring for the whole person with a compassionate response and to greater inform the wider community to the full range of human needs, hallmarks of our Catholic faith. I am grateful for the work of Saint Peter’s leadership in bringing this potential transaction to this stage, and am particularly appreciative of the ongoing oversight and guidance of Dr. John Haas, President Emeritus of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, in assuring that any transaction is structured such that Saint Peter’s will remain stalwart in its fidelity to the Catholic health care tradition,” said Bishop Checchio.

Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health, stated, “The rapidly changing health care landscape presents new challenges and opportunities.  Saint Peter’s is a vital resource to central New Jersey, and through this agreement we would greatly enhance our commitment in these communities with our mission of improving the health and well-being of its residents.  With tremendous support from municipal, county and state elected officials, our Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital academic medical center has enjoyed a longstanding collegial relationship with Saint Peter’s, and we are incredibly excited about the many possibilities for enhanced collaboration signaled by this Letter of Intent.” 

Both parties will now engage in a due diligence process to define the specifics of the relationship.  Approvals will be necessary from state and federal officials, the Catholic Church and others before the transaction is considered complete.


RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with five million people. 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, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital  in New Brunswick, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital   Somerset in Somerville, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital  at  Hamilton in Hamilton, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital  Rahway in Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital with a network of outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, 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, affiliated medical groups, multi-site imaging centers and two accountable care organizations.

RWJBH is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 33,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBH recently announced an affiliation with Rutgers University to create New Jersey’s largest academic health care system.   The collaboration will align RWJBH with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.


Saint Peter’s Healthcare System Inc., parent company of the Saint Peter’s healthcare delivery system, is comprised of Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital and state-designated children’s hospital and regional perinatal center; Saint Peter’s Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital; Saint Peter’s Health and Management Services Corp., which oversees outpatient facilities, including the CARES Surgicenter; and Saint Peter’s Physician Associates, a network of primary and specialty care physician practices.  Saint Peter’s Healthcare System is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen and is a major clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical Health and Sciences.


Saint Peter’s University Hospital is a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen.  Saint Peter’s remains one of a few independent Catholic hospitals in the country sponsored by a Roman Catholic diocese. Saint Peter’s is a state-designated children’s hospital and a regional perinatal center, and is a regional specialist in geriatrics, oncology, orthopedics, women’s services, and ambulatory care.  The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital provides families with access to a full range of pediatric specialties.  Saint Peter’s is a sponsor of residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and internal medicine, and is a major clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.