As Northern New Jersey’s healthcare organizations chart a post-pandemic course, the market could see important changes inspired by the COVID-19 era: a heightened understanding of the importance of access to care, a renewed look at facility development in the age of growing telemedicine use, and stepped-up integration between medical and behavioral health services. For 2021, integrated delivery networks prioritize their biggest capital improvement projects as resources shift to COVID-19 treatment and vaccine distribution. IDNs also favor partnerships with other health systems and insurers to manage reimbursement challenges, while many physicians are stuck in the middle without the large scale to negotiate the best contracts. Northern New Jersey has readily experimented with bundled payment models, leading to partnerships between Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and the largest IDNs, Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBarnabas Health. While a construction boom to add outpatient centers and medical clinics is slowing due to pandemic-related financial concerns, IDNs are expanding key service lines, particularly cancer care (with innovative immunotherapies), cardiology, and behavioral healthcare. Social determinants of health continue to rise in importance as payers and providers partner to address these social concerns that dramatically affect community health and well-being. Expect Northern New Jersey providers to further leverage partnerships in 2021 to improve scale and efficiency as they struggle with a challenging reimbursement environment.

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