Crozer Health CEO says he wants to stabilize the system
Crozer Health’s new CEO says it’s time to secure the system.
“What we need to do now is really stabilize operations,” Anthony “Tony” Esposito said in an interview with the Delaware County Daily Times. “At this time, we will continue to work on the potential acquisition of ChristianaCare. »
In February, Crozer Health, through its parent company Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc., signed a letter of intent with the nonprofit organization ChristianaCare Health System Inc. to acquire the health care system of the Delaware county. The transaction should be finalized by the end of the year.
Esposito was named CEO earlier this month.
“I think what we’re really trying to do now is stabilize ourselves and get the staff we need to be able to reopen some of these services that have been suspended,” Esposito said.
Since the start of the year, Crozer Health has suffered a plethora of service cuts and closures of units and services across its system.
Esposito said positions are needed in all areas, including registered nurses, and a recruitment and retention task force has been convened with doctors, human resources staff and employees to see what what can be done differently to attract and retain workers.
Esposito explained some of the pressures on the Crozer health system — some of which are seen in the health care industry nationwide.
In conjunction with the constant changes in health care, Esposito added, “With our expenses being so high due to inflation and then reimbursement being so low, payers are not changing reimbursement just because inflation has increase.
“So there’s been a lot of turmoil in the healthcare industry,” the executive continued. “We’re still living in COVID, which we thought was out of COVID now.”
That said, he talked about a vision for the future.
“A lot of services are moving to the outpatient side of the home, so we really need to look at and really solidify where do we provide those services and where do we provide access to our community,” Esposito said. “What I would like to do from now until each time we transition to ChristianaCare…understand our service lines, get back to basics and really understand where we need access points for our patients .”
One approach taken by Crozer Health is to include physician expertise in decision-making processes.
Esposito explained that the new leadership involves new chief medical officer Dr. Dina Capalongo, DO and Dr. C. Nathan Okechukwu, president of clinical operations.
“We need information on the clinical side,” he said. “I would say that over the last six months that had been lacking.”
Even with the challenge of rising prices and payer limitations, the CEO said the system will continue to serve the community.
“That’s our vision,” Esposito said. “We take care of some of the poorest in the community. Our model…is really about providing the services we need to these people.
Noting the expansions to Brinton Lake, Broomall and Haverford, he added: “There are some areas where we can take care of this side of the community and some of the top payers, but it also helps fund our mission to take care. of the other population. You have to balance both sides.
Regarding community concerns over Crozer Health’s intention to close Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Upper Darby, Esposito said, “There are no plans at this time to close Delaware County. We have suspended services solely for personnel reasons.
He said that under the public health emergency, Crozer Health was authorized to suspend services if it was unsure and Crozer, like Delaware County, the Philadelphia area and across the country, is experiencing a staff shortage.
“To provide safe care to our patients, we needed to consolidate services,” Esposito said. “And we will have to understand this like everyone else once the public emergency is lifted, but the main reason we did a lot of these service suspensions was really to do with staffing shortages and providing safe care for our patients. and to the community”.
Esposito understands the bridge that must be the gulf between Crozer Health and public trust, especially as elected leaders have criticized the system’s parent owner, the Delaware County Board saying they are extorting the county.
“I can’t speak for the ownership of Prospect,” Esposito said, “but what I can let you know is what Prospect has been doing during COVID, with the sourcing here.”
He said the company had sent planes to Asia to get much-needed supplies, especially when they were in short supply, in the last years of the pandemic.
“Anything we needed locally to treat our patients during this 100-year pandemic, Prospect was there for us,” Esposito said. “All I know is they were able to provide everything we needed locally and I’ve been through COVID here.”
Prior to becoming CEO, Esposito, 53, of Chester County, was president of Crozer Health Medical Group, which is Crozer Health’s network of providers and physicians across Delaware County, for the past three years. Prior to that, he served as Chief Financial Officer at Drexel University College of Medicine, Roxborough Memorial and Brandywine Hospitals.
“I saw what our business owners were doing for us,” he said of Prospect Medical. “I can say unequivocally that we would not have succeeded without them. Between them and Gary Zimmer, our CMO, that’s probably why we did so well.
He is aware of the role the system plays as Delaware County’s largest employer with more than 4,500 employees.
“A lot of our employees live in the county,” Esposito said. “Yes, there could be an acquisition in the works with ChristianaCare, but we are here for the community and we are here to provide care for the community. Whether you are in the northern part of the county or the southern part of the county, we have access points and we are here and we provide good patient care.
He said Crozer Health employees are passionate and work for the mission of serving the community.
“We have great vendors and staff that really care about this community and they take it personally,” Esposito said.