Meet CarePoint Health, the healthcare system putting community before profits

CarePoint Health (CarePoint) is an independent healthcare system in Hudson County, New Jersey. Combining the resources of Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital, and Hoboken University Medical Center, it supports a diverse and growing patient population, many of whom have limited access to healthcare or minimal insurance.

CarePoint’s mission is to improve the health of the communities it serves, through compassionate treatment and innovative solutions. Its myriad facilities enable the organization to provide specific services, such as cardiology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, and mother and baby care, to communities most in need.

Supply chain strategy

Vice President of Supply Chain, Chad Sandefur, joins us to share his insights on CarePoint’s capabilities and the significance of the supply chain within the system. Just one day prior to our conversation, the New Jersey Health Planning Board officially approved CarePoint’s transition into a non-profit entity, so Chad had lots of exciting, imminent plans to discuss.

“Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, our health system was focused on merging with a larger system, but the Covid outbreak put CarePoint at the forefront of the crisis,” Chad begins. “Facing one of the largest affected populations, we responded with a greater commitment to our community and provided leading edge care. Today, we are continuing to navigate a post-Covid environment and strategically planning for our long-term growth.”

Community healthcare is significant in Hudson County, as it is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the US, with African American and Hispanic individuals making up 80 percent of its population. Around 60 percent of its residents are uninsured or Medicaid patients, so neighborhood outreach programs are essential to CarePoint’s strategic growth and critical for patients unable to travel outside the county. “At the same time, we need to provide new services and innovative care for a rapidly growing population of young people and families,” states Chad. “We responded with urgency during the pandemic, and we now apply that intensity to programs for the entire community.

“In the words of our CEO, Achintya Moulick, we had to ‘rethink everything’ to achieve our goals,” Chad continues. “In terms of supply chain, we embrace change, challenge the status quo and present new ideas to drive operational excellence. I have an awesome supply chain team and our strategy is based on simple, concise principles. These include actively challenging spending that impacts the cost of care, providing excellent customer service, automating processes, fully understanding the departments we serve, and cultivating effective, supportive relationships.”

Top line growth

The current financial environment is challenging for most hospitals: rising inflation and general supply chain shortages have driven a ten-to-15 percent increase in the price of basic supplies. Labor shortages have resulted in a need for agency nursing, which has further increased costs. Nonetheless, CarePoint continues to successfully guide the system through the crisis. “We tightly manage our contract terms, involve larger decision groups and shorten the duration of a contract,” Chad explains. “We work closely with revenue cycle teams to establish case cost targets. Inventory management is a system-wide focus, and we are increasingly considering the purchase of pre-owned equipment. It’s the combination of these little things that really make a difference.”

Despite financial challenges, CarePoint is executing strategies for top line growth. “We are investing in both our physicians and technology, expanding our cardiology and neurosciences programs, and establishing additional Cath Labs and Imaging Suites,” Chad details. “We have strategic partnerships with Rothman Orthopedics, Columbia University, and St Peters to grow our spinal care program and pediatric services. We are also building an Urgent Care center and adding more physician offices.”

Technological advancements

CarePoint recognizes the vital role of technology in supply chain operations. In 2021, it unveiled its Healthcare Innovation Center, a groundbreaking initiative focused on collaboration between clinicians and external parties to redesign healthcare. It will strive to solve difficulties within healthcare, as well as pilot novel approaches and concepts to enhance the patient’s experience. “We are always generating ideas and anticipating where healthcare is going in terms of technology,” explains Chad. “This center enables us to quickly adopt and respond to technological advancements, with huge benefit to our patients and community.”

In addition to the Innovation Center, CarePoint opened the Dr Hemant Shah Research Center in 2022 to honor Dr Shah’s positive impact on healthcare within Hudson County. This center facilitates clinical, epidemiological, and translational research, with the aim of advancing healthcare. Chad highlights: “The wider healthcare industry continues to incorporate technological advancements, so our focus on innovation and research is key to introducing new products, processes, and automation to CarePoint.

“Employee burnout is a concern in all businesses, but especially in healthcare,” he continues. “The past three years have been demanding. For many of our staff, the hospital becomes their community. Many individuals were born in local neighborhoods, so there is a real feeling of family, and we support each other personally and professionally. For my team it is exciting to contribute to the hospital’s future.”

Chad concludes: “The transition to a non-profit system opens more financial resources and opportunities for CarePoint moving forward, for instance, access to federal funding, eligibility for 340B pricing, and the ability to raise capital are just a few of the immediate benefits. The demand for quality healthcare and the subsequent strain on providers is not going anywhere, so we need to consider ways to best support our employees. This support will go beyond day-to-day operations, instead focusing on personal growth, whether that is through education, individual training, or involvement with other parts of the business.”

With a strong supply chain and planned expansions in multiple areas, CarePoint is ready to face the change, growth, and development required to become a non-profit healthcare system that genuinely cares for its patients and the wider community.