St. Barnabas To Suspend Contributions

monmouth medical centerThe St. Barnabas Health Care System, which along the Shore operates Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood and Community Medical Center in Toms River, will temporarily suspend its contributions to pension and 401(k) plans for employees during 2010. The West Orange-based system operates six hospitals and 11 nursing homes, among other facilities, and employs about 19,600 people, making it the second-largest private employer in the state.

In September, “Modern Healthcare” magazine named it one of the 100 best places to work in health care. But, over the last 11 months, it has laid off more than 160 employees at Shore facilities.

Ronald J. Del Mauro, St. Barnabas president and chief executive officer, confirmed that the temporary suspension of pension benefits was among a series of steps the system would employ “to maintain a very competitive compensation and benefits program for all its employees” and also to potentially avoid future layoffs.

Del Mauro said employees still may contribute to either plan in 2010.

“We have every intention of reinstating both the accrual and matching contributions in 2011,” he said.

Citing the difficult economic times — felt in particular in the hospital industry in this state and related in some part to low government reimbursements for charity care — Del Mauro said St. Barnabas would give all nonunion, nonphysician, nonexecutive staff a one-time bonus payment of $500 in January and a 2 percent salary increase in August.

Employees will maintain their current health-care benefits in 2010 without increases to the employee contribution, he said.

“Just like all businesses in New Jersey, the St. Barnabas Health Care System is not immune to the overall economic decline and challenges posed by Wall Street,” Del Mauro said. APP

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