St. Peter’s University Hospital to merge with RWJBarnabas

New Jersey has seen many hospital mergers in recent years, and another one occurred Thursday. St Peter’s Healthcare System and RWJBarnabas Health signed a definitive agreement to combine. St. Peter’s will remain a full-service health care provider and would continue to operate as a Catholic hospital. RWJBarnabas will make investments to expand St Peter’s clinical services.

This economy continues to throw more people out of work. New weekly unemployment claims in New Jersey totaled 22,700 in the latest week, up 12.5% over the prior week. The state says workers who are eligible for the extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits will be notified in a few weeks, but those payments won’t last for long. There’s still no plan to extend federal unemployment benefits beyond that as Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on a new stimulus deal.

With those Washington stimulus talks at a stalemate, grassroots organizations around the state are continuing their efforts to respond to those in need. In Newark, the community group La Casa de Don Pedro is about to launch a new rental assistance program. Executive Director Ray Ocasio says while state and city governments have offered rental help, it’s not meeting the need that’s out there. He hopes the new rental program will help at least 150 families.