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NPHS IMPLEMENTS SERVICE RESTRUCTURING PLAN FOR ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL AND GIRARD MEDICAL CENTER

 NPHS IMPLEMENTS SERVICE RESTRUCTURING PLAN FOR
 ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL AND GIRARD MEDICAL CENTER
 PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- North Philadelphia Health System (NPHS) has implemented a new program to enhance the quality of care and better respond to the needs of the community served by St. Joseph's Hospital and Girard Medical Center.
 The program -- a four-phase service restructuring plan -- is designed to solidify the financial foundation of NPHS.
 The announcement concerning the program was made by Martin Chin, interim chief executive officer of NPHS and senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Mercy Health Corporation, and Dominic Sabatini, chairman of the board of NPHS. For the last four months, Mercy Health Corporation and Temple University Hospital have provided management services to NPHS.
 "The plan is a move to ensure the long-term success and well-being of Girard Medical Center and St. Joseph's Hospital -- two hospitals that annually receive 100,000 visits from North Philadelphia residents," said Sabatini.
 Chin stated that the plan is based on the recognition that many medical/surgical services in close proximity is duplicative and unnecessary to meet community need. "We took a long hard look at our programs and community and realized that it would be more efficient to concentrate medical/surgical care at one site rather than trying to spread limited resources between two hospitals which are only eight blocks apart," Chin said. Chin added that he expects the plan to save NPHS about $5 million annually.
 Under the plan, all inpatient medical/surgical services would be located at St. Joseph's Hospital and all behavioral medicine services would be located at Girard Medical Center. According to Chin, similar services were previously split between the two hospitals.
 Staff at St. Joseph's and Girard have already begun implementing the plan. The 60-bed detoxification unit was moved from St. Joseph's to Girard in the beginning of October. Shortly thereafter, the operating rooms were consolidated at St. Joseph's. Outpatient services will continue and be enhanced at Girard's ambulatory care center which sees 30,000 visits a year. "Our intent is to maintain access in terms of what the community needs most, namely convenient physician services," said Chin.
 The most far-reaching change, converting the 24-hour Emergency Room at Girard to a 16-hour Urgent Care Center, is yet to come, Chin said. "Although Girard will be a behavioral medicine facility, we felt we had a commitment to maintain a presence where area residents could receive immediate medical/surgical aid," Chin said. The new "Urgicenter" will be staffed by physicians and open from 8 a.m. to midnight. He said he expects the center to be in place by the end of November. Chin estimated that 75 percent of those patients currently using the Emergency Room at Girard will be adequately served by the new "Urgicenter."
 "This is the part of the plan which will require the biggest adjustment by the community as it learns how to use our reorganized services," Chin said. "But because an Urgent Care Center will remain, and a 24-hour Emergency Room is just eight blocks away at St. Joseph's Hospital -- with transportation provided -- we will ultimately provide a more attractive service with shorter waiting times and better medical care," Chin added.
 While the reorganization will reduce the total number of positions, the impact on full-time individuals will be minimized through attrition and reduction of part-time employees, Chin noted.
 When the service restructuring plan is complete, St. Joseph's Hospital will emerge as a full-service, 178-bed medical/surgical community hospital. Girard Medical Center, on the other hand, will house the most comprehensive behavioral medicine center of its kind in the Delaware Valley. "We had all the necessary tools at our fingertips to create a strong community medical center of extremely high quality. It was just a question of organizing it in a sound formation. Now we've done that," Chin said. Sabatini added, "The strategy that the team from Mercy and Temple have set in motion should position NPHS as an efficient and higher quality health provider in the community."
 North Philadelphia Health System comprises Girard Medical Center on 8th Street and Girard Avenue, and St. Joseph's Hospital on 16th Street and Girard Avenue. The two facilities consolidated in August 1990. The 409-bed health care system offers medical/surgical care, psychiatric services, and services for the chemically dependent patient.
 /delval/
 -0- 10/27/92
 /CONTACT: Katherine Sherk of North Philadelphia Health System, 215-787-9503, or 215-787-9000/ CO: North Philadelphia Health System; Girard Medical Center;
 St. Joseph's Hospital ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU: RCN


MK-LJ -- PH033 -- 5516 10/27/92 14:31 EST
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Date:Oct 27, 1992
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