Community Health of Foremost Importance for Saint Clare’s Health

Credit for all photos goes to Saint Clare’s Health

By Steve Sears

A drive either east of west on New Jersey’s Route 46 yields prominent, welcoming signs to Saint Clare’s Hospitals in Denville and neighboring Dover.

There’s a history beyond those signs dating back to August 1953, when Saint Clare’s Hospital in Dover opened its doors, and that history has always included compassionate and quality care for residents of Morris, Sussex, and Warrenunties. In fact, that means Saint Clare’s Health just celebrated 65 years meeting its mission statement is to deliver compassionate, quality care to patients and better healthcare to communities. The accompanying values of quality, compassion and community certainly define that mission.


The first patient was admitted on September 24, 1953.

Jan Bednar, a College of Saint Elizabeth’s graduate, is Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of Saint Clare’s Health since 2015. “We are not a trauma center, but clearly we are an excellent community hospital; we want to be a hospital of choice. We do not do open heart (surgery). There are a few things out of our band with, but for the sake of general medical care, whether it be geriatric, orthopedic, cardiac, we do it, and I think new do it well.”

Saint Clare’s Health, per its website, “offers a full-range of comprehensive medical services including (but not limited to) an Accredited Cardiovascular Program, Emergency Medicine, Accredited Surgical Weight Loss Program, Comprehensive Behavioral Health Services, Maternity Care, Women’s Services – (Gynecological Surgery, Breast Imaging), Orthopedic Surgery, Rehabilitation Sport Medicine Wound Care Center Cancer Care, and Pediatrics. A member of Prime Health Care, Saint Clare’s Health is one of 45 hospitals nationwide under its umbrella. Saint Clare’s Health includes the Denville and Dover hospitals; Saint Clare’s Behavior Health in Boonton, Denville and Parsippany; Sussex Community Urgent Care; the Imaging Center at Parsippany Commons; Lakeland Cardiology in Lakeland and Randolph; and Primary Care Physician Practice in Mine Hill. Most recently, Saint Clare’s Health has received a number of awards, including 25 Health Grades awards, a Platinum Award for its Sharing Network, a Pathways to Excellence Award for Nursing Care, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award for stroke and cardiac care, and much more. “There’s a number of them,” says Bednar, “that we recently got, so we’re really, really excited about that and we are on the journey for others.”

Saint Clare’s Health, in addition to the excellent medical care it provides, also gives back to the community in many other ways. “We are doing even more in the community now that we were 3 or 4 years ago,” says Bednar. “We have really reengaged with the community on multiple levels. What we started doing when we became Prime – under the Prime umbrella – is we formed a Community Advisory Group where representatives from all the municipalities in Sussex and Morris Counties. And, as a result, we also did a Community Needs Assessment, to see where there are needs within the community, so I hope we were listening to what the community wanted. We are trying very, very, very much to have a presence in the community whether it be at their health fairs or various clinics. We’re trying to get to as many of them as possible within our geographic area.”

Saint Clare’s Health also serves Warren County but has no facility there. “Our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) covers Warren County. Half of Warren County is covered by out Certificate of Need. All of Sussex County and a good half of Morris County. We have a large EMS that covers easily 12 or 1,300 square miles – and growing,” says Bednar.

For Bednar, she wants Saint Clare’s Health to be the hospital of choice, wants to embrace the primary care physicians in the area so that they choose Saint Clare’s. “I think we can excel in emergency care, including EMS. I think our cardiac program is phenomenal, our orthopedic program is phenomenal, I think our oncology program is growing and is phenomenal, and our Mother Baby program and our Behavioral Health programs jump out at me.”

Brian Finestein is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 2016. “I’m a firm believer that healthcare is local. So, people want to stay in their community for a variety of things, including their healthcare needs. And our goal here at Saint Clare is to provide the highest quality care and the highest quality service for those patients that we serve.” Finestein also states that Saint Clare’s Health will offer a number of niche programs to best serve the community, referring back to the before-mentioned Community Needs Assessment Bednar mentioned. “We’re not using that report as a paperweight; we’re using that to drive programs here, and if we’re going to have a program, it’s going to be an excellent program. If  we’re going to do a program, we’re going to do it with excellence in mind in terms of quality and service.”

Finestein is driven by Saint Clare’s Health being an integral part of the community, one is which the system is relied on for excellence. “That’s a trust factor, if you will.”

For more information about Saint Clare’s Health – what it offers and its being recognized as a top health care provider – visit

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