Inspira steps in to save South Jersey hospital, Salem County lawmakers applaud

Inspira steps in to save South Jersey hospital, Salem County lawmakers applaud

Beth Sawyer

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywomen Beth Sawyer and Bethanne McCarthy Patrick, champions of Inspira Health’s takeover of Salem Medical Center, say the acquisition announced Friday will greatly benefit residents of Salem County and the hospital’s health care workers. Located in Mannington Township, Salem Medical Center will now be known as Salem Medical Center, an affiliate of Inspira Health.

“This is the news the communities served by the hospital, the dedicated nurses and caring health care professionals deserve to hear,” Sawyer (R-Gloucester) said. “I supported Inspira’s plan because they are deeply committed to this county, quality health care and their patients. They will recruit and retain top doctors, provide stability for the nurses and set a clear vision for the future so that South Jersey’s health care needs are well met.”

The Salem hospital has served the area for more than 100 years, but has struggled financially in recent years and stopped offering many procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic. Inspira Health, which also operates a hospital in Elmer, Salem County, proposed a takeover last year and officially acquired the hospital building, ambulatory surgery center and physician offices on Friday.

Bethanne McCarthy Patrick

“As a lifelong resident of this community and an EMT, I know that this area of Salem County is in need of the consistent level of care Inspira Health will provide. They understand how and when to transfer and transport patients and will enhance the hospital’s emergency care services,” McCarthy Patrick (R-Salem) said. “I applaud this partnership because it means residents will no longer have to fear a healthcare desert and will be able to rely on convenient and safe care.”

Salem County is largely rural and has just about 65,000 residents – making it New Jersey’s least populous county. Approximately 12% live in poverty. Inspira Health has had a footprint in the county for more than 70 years and also operates two hospitals in neighboring Cumberland County and one in Gloucester County.

A takeover proposal was announced in December 2021 and in August this year, a public hearing to discuss the transaction was held at Salem County College. Both assemblywomen testified in favor of the plan.

Officials say the medical center is joining Inspira Health’s network through a membership substitution, which is the most common method of merging nonprofit hospital systems. It is equivalent to a stock sale transaction where mergers are completed via the acquisition of equity.