Investment in Crozer Health’s Patients, Physicians, and People
A new robotic-assisted surgical system that allows physicians to perform advanced minimally invasive procedures. State-of-the-art interventional bronchoscopy technology that helps surgeons detect and treat lung cancer earlier, potentially improving patient survival rates. The nation’s first neurologic emergency room (Neuro ER) dedicated to treating emergencies like stroke, aneurysm, head trauma, and seizures. Approximately $200 million in capital has been invested in Crozer Health over the last six years, including substantial funding for new medical technologies, equipment, and services designed to improve patient care and save lives.
Joseph Whitlark, MD, a respected thoracic surgeon, joined Crozer Health in March 2020. To support Dr. Whitlark’s practice, significant investments in new medical technology were made, including the acquisition of a state-of-the-art robotic-assisted interventional bronchoscopy system. Dr. Whitlark also performs high-end thoracic surgery using Crozer’s advanced, robotic-assisted da Vinci Xi Surgical System.
“I came to Crozer because I wanted to be involved with a program that is forward-thinking and committed to investing in the latest technology to help our patients,” Dr. Whitlark said.
“I believe Prospect is completely committed to supporting this program. They’ve given me everything I need to be successful.” In January 2018, Erol Veznedaroglu, MD, an internationally recognized cerebrovascular neurosurgeon who is better known as Dr. Vez, partnered with Prospect to launch the Global Neurosciences Institute (GNI) at Crozer Health. GNI offers world-class neurologic diagnosis and treatment by an innovative team of nationally recognized and highly trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, and neuroscience researchers.
“I chose to partner with Prospect because we both clearly understand the changes that are happening in healthcare,” said Dr. Vez. “One reason healthcare is considered ‘broken’ is that it has become too large and overly bureaucratic. The partnership allows us to be more patient-focused in providing care, while Prospect does what it does best – handling operational and business matters. In less than three years, we have become a market leader in providing innovative neurologic diagnosis and treatment.”
Dina Capalongo, DO, Crozer Health’s chief medical officer, was the health system’s Director of Primary Care in 2016. She recalls Prospect’s financial investment early on that brought upgraded essential medical equipment to every doctor’s office within the system.
“When Prospect took over, we rolled out new EKGs (electrocardiograms) and AEDs (automated external defibrillators) to every office,” said Dr. Capalongo, who continues to see patients in her primary care practice one day a week. “None of our doctor’s offices had AEDs in place at that time and the EKGs we did have needed to be upgraded. This is medical equipment that was essential for the safety of our patients and our staff.”
Almost $100 million of the capital investment made was for a new Cerner electronic health record system that gives Crozer Health physicians and other providers the ability to exchange health information electronically and provide higher-quality, safer care for patients. Many of the investment dollars put into Crozer Health are in areas that aren’t immediately noticeable to the public such as expenditures on infrastructure, according to Dr. Capalongo.
Other investments made in the health system that have benefited both patients and the communities served by the Crozer Health hospitals include approximately $657million in charity care for people who were uninsured or otherwise unable to pay for the care they received. Another major investment is the $190 million Prospect has contributed to the employee pension fund since 2016.
“Prospect saved the pension plan,” said Dr. Capalongo. “It was failing and underfunded when they bought the health system. Many, many people – employees and former employees – would have been out of a pension if they hadn’t funded it, myself included.”