County carefully creates new BRMC Authority; BGR’s Key Forum Helped

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The final of the 7 recommendations made in the Healthcare Advisory Committee Report commissioned by Bergen County Executive, James Tedesco, states:


The expert panel at the October 17,2016 Bergen Regional Forum sponsored by Bergen Grassroots not only agreed with that recommendation, it assessed it as the priority recommendation and provided specific discussion of how and why such decisions in the past had been made too quickly leading to a long contract that did not provide procedural clarity or adequate financial transparency.
This BGR post provides the reader with the entire content of that 10/17 Forum and ready access to important information and source documents. You may also Read about the BGR Bergen Regional Forum in the Record click here
As noted, this website now  provides all of the Bergen Regional Forum video and materials. It does so in four separate pieces: 1) The presentation file with a summary of the County’s April 2016 report on BRMC as shown at the Forum [no audio]; 2) a video of that same presentation with the audio narrative; 3) a video of the 5-member panel discussion as it occurred at the Forum; and 4) a video of participant comments and/or questions and the panel’s responses to that public input.  
image-of-report1) Click final-bergen-regional-presentation to review a copy of the presentation that summarized the County’s April 2016 Report on BRMC at BGR’s October 17 Forum. (Note: Given the Presentation’s size, your computer or device may place this Presentation in your download file from which you can view it)
2) The BGR forum on Bergen Regional Medical Center, began, after a few introductory remarks. with a presentation that summarized the 4/27/2016 County-empaneled Healthcare Advisory Committee Report on Bergen Regional. The presenter was BGR’s President Chuck Powers whose voice is heard as he shows the same presentation whose copy is found above:
3)  In the video below, the 5-member Bergen Regional Forum Panel discusses impending decisions about the management and scope of the County’s huge, aging BRMC facility and the complex management challenges it faces. Members are from right to left: State Senate Majority Leader, Loretta Weinberg; HPAE Secretary/Treasurer, Barbara Rosen; Paramus Health Service Director, Irene Maury; Bergen County Freeholder, John A. Felice; and Appleseed Public Interest Law Center Executive Director, Renee Steinhagen

4) At the conclusion of BGR’s forum on Bergen Regional ,the audience at the Bergen Region debate commented on and asked questions of the panel. The video which follows captures every minue of the 3rd section of the forum.
If you have watched these videos, you know that the decisions being made judiciously about the Bergen County government’s own Bergen Regional Medical Center[BRMC] – New Jersey’s largest hospital – are crucial for the County’s health care and perhaps the most important and expensive decisions that the County has made or will make in a decade.
The contract under which the Center has been run for 19 years ended with an agreement that allowed the BRMC to be managed – with unprecedented transparency – during a 6 month interim plan. The nation’s health care, its delivery and its insurance had changed dramatically during the prior 19 year period. Should the Center’s scope, administration, infrastructure and financial organization change or remain essentially the same? The fundamental elements of those decisions will be made in the next several months.  And neither the sheer size or tight deadlines shaping  those decisions had been understood by more than a very small fraction of Bergen residents and taxpayers. The message of the Forum had almost nothing to do with which of the possible aspirants should become the selected management team. In fact, the possible bidders were not even discussed at the Forum. Instead the consensus recommendation that emerged from the BGR panel was this: move ahead, but also take the time you need to get it right. AND that is precisely what the County did!
As we have seen, it was not clear when the County report was issued in April how long it would take for the legislature to pass a statute giving the County authority to create a new oversight mechanism. In fact it took only 2 months. But given the bipartisan support for that Weinberg legislation, why would it would take the State Legislature and Governor nearly 3 months after legislative passage to agree on how to get from legislative passage to a signed and accepted law – that is, until September 21.. But the statute starts the process. To utilize this new power to create an oversight board for BRMC, the County must create and pass an ordinance that coheres with that law. But that is happening. At its work session meeting on October 19 – two days after the Forum –  Freeholder Maura DeNicola (citing the BGR Forum consensus) asked the County executive branch whether and when it was going to use that authority. Acting County Administrator Julien Neals then told the Freeholders that he anticipated the administration would propose to the Board on November 2 for a first reading, precisely such an ordinance. If the Freeholders then pass that resolution later in November, it still remains to be seen precisely how the new 11-member oversight entity with its appointments in place will then mesh with the results of the RFP bid-opening now delayed until December 2.  Watch this space.
Where can you find out/read more? Happily, the County government has been gathering the information and options to make those decisions competently for several years. As already discussed in this post, in the Fall of 2015, County Executive James Tedesco empaneled a Healthcare Advisory Committee to address BRMC – and  in April of this year that committee issued an unusually complete and comprehensible report. In addition to these Forum materials, every Bergen resident needs to read at least the executive summary of that report (click here for the report ). To read the new state statute that became a state law on September 21 of this year– and authorizes a county to form a county hospital authority, click final-nj-hospital-authority-legis-9-21-2016. The Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued for the purpose of identifying potential management options and selecting a new contractor. It was issued by the county on September 19 (two days earlier than the day the new state statute became law).  The date of bid opening from the potential bidders has recently been delayed by six weeks and is now scheduled to occur December 2. To read that RFP click brmc-final-lease-rfp-8-29-2016. (It may well be that when you click on and of these documents on your computer or other device they will not immediately appear but go to your download file where you can retrieve them.)

In any event, the decisions that lie ahead for BRMC will affect the lives of virtually every family in Bergen County for decades to come.

For further useful information, here are recent media stories about Bergen Regional and related mental health care challenges in the County:
Topic: County Releases Report on BRMC- 5-5-2016 click here ; Lawmakers approve BRMC oversight change– 9-15-2016 – click here ; Political Leaders support State change in BRMC oversight – 6-16-2016 click here ; Concern about BRMC Violence – 5-19-2016 click here ; Is Violence over-reported? 9-8-2016 click here ;Extension of Deadline for BRMC Contract applicants – 10-13-2016 click here  Record story on BGR forum, 10-17-2016  click here; 



























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