Palisades Medical Center Ranked Among the Top Hospitals in New Jersey

Palisades Healthcare Systems, Inc. comprises 449 hospital and long-term care beds through its hospital and The Harborage nursing home and most recently opened a 57,000-square-foot Medical Office Building on its campus overlooking the Hudson River.

Palisades Medical Center has been ranked among New Jersey’s top hospitals by Inside Business magazine and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd.  Located in North Bergen, it has a total of 202 beds and serves a population of 400,000 patients in Hudson County and South Bergen County.

We sat down with President and CEO of Palisades Healthcare Systems, Inc. Bruce J. Markowitz to gain his perspective on the hospital’s past, present and future and how it is leveraging new technology and forging academic, clinical and community-based partnerships to better serve the region.

What is the Palisades Medical Center’s mission?

Palisades Medical Center’s mission is to enhance the health status of the diverse communities we serve and deliver patient care in a safe and nurturing environment consistent with the highest standards of excellence, quality and efficiency, and with strict adherence to ethical practices. Our mission also includes a strong academic commitment to train future physicians to be leaders in healthcare by delivering world class, compassionate medical care.

Palisades Medical Center is the largest employer in its service area and in addition to being ranked as a top hospital, it has also been recognized as one of Modern Healthcare’s “Best Places to Work in Healthcare.”

What new technologies and programs is PMC introducing to help the welfare of their patients moving forward?

As a nonprofit hospital, Palisades Medical Center allocates resources, including the support of our benefactors, for projects that impact our mission.  We have significantly invested in the latest, effective technologies to provide our patients with the best health care resources available.  For example, our EHR system (Electronic Health Records) provides our nurses, physicians, interns and residents with state of the art tools that enhance patient care for the most effective results while maintaining the privacy and security of patient data.

All of our patient rooms have been renovated (pictured above), with all new furnishings to optimize comfort, safety and care of our patients. Nursing stations have also been updated to strengthen patient monitoring and safety.

PMC’s new on-campus Medical Office Building (pictured above) is also providing new, specialized services for community residents that previously had to travel outside of our local communities for these services. The new 57,000-square-foot facility provides state-of-the-art ambulatory and specialty care services. Services featured in the new building include the Palisades Dialysis Center; HUMC’s John Theurer Cancer Center at Palisades; Cardiology, Orthopedics, Women’s Health, and multi-specialty physician practices from Hackensack University Medical Center. The new Ambulatory Care Center expands Palisades Medical Center’s capabilities and provides our community with convenient access to new, specialty care services that they would otherwise not find locally in our communities.

Preparing the next generation of physicians brings vibrancy to our Medical Center and enhances our efforts to provide quality health care to our communities.  Our robust Graduate Medical Education Program now includes more than 110 residents that specialize in Dermatology, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gastroenterology, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Podiatry and Orthopedics.   All specialties embrace a curriculum that emphasizes compassionate medical care, an active role in patient advocacy and community service.  Ultimately, many of our program graduates will continue to serve the residents of our local communities.

Also, because of the culturally diverse patient population we serve, Palisades Medical Center has implemented a video translation service throughout its facility to enhance communications between caregivers and both inpatients and outpatients.  Available 24/7, it features live, private interpretations by certified medical translators in 13 languages.

Recently, Palisades Medical Center and Hackensack University Medical Center joined together. The agreement signifies a medical evolution in the state of New Jersey. What was the reasoning behind this partnership and what are the two parties looking to do in the future to help the larger community?

This new relationship represents significant benefits for patients as they will have access to exceptional specialty services in their own backyard. A perfect example of how this partnership benefits our community is the new John Theurer Cancer Center at our new, on campus medical office building. Patients receive the same world-class cancer care available at the John Theurer Cancer Center at HUMC on our campus. The outpatient facility will help provide state-of-the-art cancer care to the estimated 4,000 Hudson County & Southern Bergen County patients in need of cancer treatment annually.  As a result, our community has direct access to a nationally recognized cancer center.

Another example is Palisades Medical Center’s Neonatal Level 2 Nursery. Thanks to our affiliation with HackensackUMC, parents-to-be that come to Palisades can feel confident in knowing that they will receive the highest quality care in our Maternity Center and in our Neonatal Level 2 Nursery should health problems arise.

In the fall of 2014, Hackensack University Health Network and PMC signed a letter of intent further expanding its partnership. This partnership integrates PMC as a full member of the Hackensack University Health Network, greatly expanding services to the Hudson and Southern Bergen County regions, and both organizations have moved into the next steps of regulatory approval.  We are very proud to partner with the leading healthcare organization in the region—and excited with the opportunity it represents to improve the health of our communities.

Throughout the year, Palisades Medical Center’s dedicated staff and volunteers work to educate local residents about health and wellness issues. Can you expand on your community outreach program and what are some things PMC does to help better our community?

At Palisades Medical Center, we are proud of our strong tradition of caring for our community. Our staff and volunteers work with our community partners and stakeholders to improve the lives of thousands of local residents. Our clinical and medical staff, employees and volunteers work with community leaders, municipal healthcare agencies, EMS representatives and other key partners to offer free health screenings, educational seminars, training and classes, facility tours and other activities.  In fact, the New Jersey Hospital Association has recognized our efforts with its Community Outreach Award.

PMC’s strategic plan aligns with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for hospitals to identify, analyze and address the healthcare needs of their service areas. Consequently, many Palisades Medical Center doctors participate in an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) with Hackensack University Medical Center in order to improve the quality and efficiency of the care they provide. This helps ensure quality metrics are in place that focus on patient-centered care and increased coordination of care among providers.

In order to effectively address population health issues, Palisades Medical Center developed a Community Health Needs Assessment through a collaborative effort of our community partners that worked throughout past years to identify the most-pressing healthcare needs in our service area. This assessment includes action items and plans to address the prevailing healthcare concerns in our community.

One of the needs identified as a chronic illness in our community is cardiovascular disease. PMC has responded to this need by implementing an evidence-based Care Transitions Intervention Model for cardiac care. This program is working to accelerate the process of reducing readmissions, increasing patient understanding of their disease, advancing medication management and improving care processes of heart failure (HF) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients. To view the Community Health Needs Assessment, you can visit our website

PMC is also working to improve access to healthcare for residents in our local communities with our “Home Visit” program. Many of PMC’s physicians now perform home visits to better serve patients and ensure appropriate care and follow-up. This brings convenience along with specialized care to our home-bound patients and those who face significant challenges accessing medical care.

This year, we also successfully implemented Jersey Health Connect at PMC. This important initiative allows patients and their healthcare providers to easily and securely access medical information to improve quality of care, prevent potential medical errors and reduce unnecessary testing and treatments.

All of these efforts represent a solid foundation to support our public health initiatives that will help improve the well-being of our neighbors and our community.

Established in 1991, The Harborage is a 247-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center for patients recovering from surgeries, strokes and debilitating injuries—and those that need long term nursing care. What does The Harborage at Palisades Medical Center do to stand out among the rest of nursing homes in New Jersey?

Since opening its doors in 1991, The Harborage has been recognized and honored for consistently providing patient-centered care in a safe, nurturing environment with the highest standards of excellence, quality and compassion. The Harborage has been successful because residents, families and care-givers collectively build and foster a spirit of community in a positive, compassionate and unique setting.

U.S. News & World Report has recognized The Harborage as one of the nest nursing homes in the nation.  U.S. News & World Report creates the annual “Best Nursing Homes” list by using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that sets and enforces standards for nursing homes. U.S. News & World Report awards the “Best Nursing Homes” designation to facilities that earned an overall rating of five stars. Nursing home ratings are based on overall performance in health inspections, nurse staffing and quality of medical care.

In addition to the U.S. News & World Report rankings, The Harborage also recently received a 5-star rating, the highest rankings possible, from both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for ensuring that nursing home facilities are compliant with mandatory federal and state regulations.

Awards & Achievements for Palisades Medical Center

  • Ranked among the top hospitals in the state by Inside Jersey magazine and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd
  • PMC ranked “Best Places to Work in Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare
  • American Heart Association recognizes Palisades with their “Get With The Guidelines Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Awards” for the Medical Center’s treatment of heart failure and stroke patients
  • This past June, diplomas were handed out to medical residents who completed their training
  • The Harborage was named on S. News & World Report’s “Best Nursing Homes” List and received a 5-star rating from both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

Palisades Medical Center in the Community

  • 5,000 residents received free health screenings, including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart rate, body mass index/BMI, peak flow and pulse oximetery
  • An additional 2,500 residents learned directly from medical experts about key health topics, including obesity and nutrition, pain management, smoking cessation, diabetes, podiatry, and women’s health issues such as breast cancer.
  • 88 community health fairs and events annually done in conjunction with partnering schools, employers, civic organizations, and religious congregations throughout our area to educate residents, improve access to care, and reduce health disparities.

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