Anyone in the market for a healthcare network? Princeton Healthcare System has announced that it is looking to partner with another healthcare system.

“Princeton HealthCare System has achieved great success in large measure because of our commitment to the needs of our community and our ability to embrace change and think beyond who we are today to who we want to be tomorrow,” said CEO Barry Rabner. “The decision to explore a potential partnership is one more step in our long-standing practice of planning, exploring options and initiating change for the good of our patients.”

The hospital borrowed $355 million to build the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro on Route 1, and sold its old Witherspoon Street location for $50 million. In its most recent tax returns, showing the numbers from 2013, the hospital system took in $353 million and expended $372 million and had $500 million in debt. Since then the old hospital was sold for $50 million. In a letter to doctors alerting them to the partnership search, Rabner said the hospital was now showing a healthy 7 percent operating profit.

The hospital board said in a press release that it was looking to merge in light of changes to reimbursement, care delivery and coordination, information and clinical technology, and other changes the board anticipates will happen in the next two to five years. The release said the hospital had its best financial year ever last year.

“The Board of Trustees has decided to evaluate partnership options to determine if we could be most successful in addressing our patients’ and the community’s future needs if we partnered with another organization,” the statement read.

In addition to its flagship hospital, Princeton Healthcare operates Princeton House Behavioral Health, Princeton Rehabilitation, and several other facilities in the Princeton area.

If Princeton Healthcare does merge with another healthcare system, it will be part of a frenzy of hospital mergers taking place throughout the country. In 2014 there were 95 mergers, joint ventures, and acquisitions among U.S. hospitals, according to a Harvard Medical School publication.

Gregory Curfman, editor of Harvard Health Publications, wrote in April that a drive towards hospital efficiency and increased quality of care is fueling the wave of mergers. For example, a smaller hospital system that merges with a larger one would gain access to better technologies and experts for its patients.

However, Curfman warned that health economists believe mergers could also drive up costs even as they increase efficiency. A large hospital network has more bargaining power with insurance companies than a small one, and therefore can demand higher prices than a small network could. These prices are passed along to the consumers, who pay higher fees and insurance premiums.

“From the standpoint of consumers, hospital mergers may offer expanded access to health care services, but this may very well come at a cost — higher prices for those services and higher insurance premiums. So if a hospital merger happens in your area, be aware of what might be coming down the road,” Curfman wrote.

#b#Groups Ask Court To Stop Pipeline#/b#

Environmental groups have asked the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to stop the Transco natural gas pipeline project. Transco was granted permits in April that will allow it to build a 42-inch natural gas pipeline through parts of Princeton and Montgomery.

The New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, and Friends of Princeton Open Space have challenged the permits in court saying the pipeline could harm wetlands and water quality.

The company has nearly completed the pipeline and only needed fresh water wetland and flood hazard area permits from the Department of Environmental Protection to build through Princeton Ridge.

Transco says gas from the 30-mile pipeline will transport enough fuel to heat about 2 million homes when it is scheduled to be completed in December.

#b#Joint Venture#/b#

Princeton Power Systems Inc., 3175 Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-955-5390; fax, 609-751-9225. Ken McCauley, CEO. www.princetonpower.com.

Princeton Power Systems, an energy management technology company, has demonstrated a power converter using silicon-carbide switching technology. The company said its new converter is smaller, lighter, quieter, more efficient, and more capable than conventional power converters made with silicon.

“Technology innovation in power conversion has been at the core of our mission since day one,” said Ken McCauley, CEO of Princeton Power Systems. “This product demonstration shows that silicon-carbide technology can play a role in highly efficient and cost-effective commercial products in the very near future, and we intend to expand its use to higher power levels and ultimately across our product line.”

The power stage at the heart of the converter was jointly developed by Monmouth Junction-based United Silicon Carbide and Princeton Power at Princeton Power’s test lab in Lawrenceville.

The company plans to introduce the new power converter as a commercial product in 2016.

#b#Philanthropy#/b#

Heartland Payment Systems (HPY), 90 Nassau Street, Third Floor, Princeton 08542; 888-798-3131; fax, 609-683-3815. Robert Carr, CEO. www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com.

The foundation created by Heartland Payment Systems CEO Robert Carr is spending $1 million to give 50 high school students full rides to Rowan University.

With the mission of helping talented youth of modest means attend college, the Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF) has awarded more than 250 scholarships in Illinois since it began in 2003. This year, the foundation expanded the program to New Jersey, and Rowan is the state’s first college to join as a partner.

Carr has said the fund is a way to pay back for a $250 scholarship he received as a high school senior.

“GSBF is excited to expand its scholarship program to New Jersey and to work with Rowan University, which shares our vision of making a college education available to qualified students of modest means,” Carr said in a statement. “We want to help ensure students realize their full potential. And we want to encourage them to give back in the future.”

This fall the foundation will identify school districts with which it will work. Freshmen who attend those high schools will be eligible to apply for entrance into the program, which, if successfully completed, will include a four-year scholarship to Rowan. To qualify, these high-achieving students must be eligible for partial or full Pell Grants. If selected, they also must meet additional GSBF criteria, such as maintaining good grades, taking honors and AP courses, and demonstrating admirable character. The program will offer mentoring, networking, training, events and educational panels. Upon high school graduation, students also must meet the university’s standard admissions requirements and be admitted.

The first class chosen for GSBF scholarships will begin college in the fall of 2019.

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