by Mike Deak
Boundaries in medical care drop as hospital landscape continues to evolve in New Jersey.
BRIDGEWATER — The days when a hospital held a monopoly on healthcare in an area are over. With more options for healthcare available to consumers, traditional territories for hospitals and their affiliated healthcare systems are breaking down. That’s one of the reasons why the partnership between Hunterdon Healthcare and Atlantic Health System is expanding into Somerset County. Specialty services of the Hunterdon Healthcare System – gastroenterology, endocrinology, urology, breast surgery,, cardiology, physical and occupational therapy, imaging, diagnostic services and procedural services – will occupy 55,000 square feet of space at 1121 Route 22 West, formerly Bank of America and the corporate headquarters of the former First National Bank of Central Jersey. The building’s grand opening was celebrated Thursday.
“Many of our patients call Somerset County their home and we want to provide the highest quality care and the most convenient care to our patients,” said Robert P. Wise, president and CEO of Hunterdon Healthcare.
Through the alliance with Hunterdon Healthcare and Atlantic Health System, Atlantic Health System will lease space in the building and provide surgical specialists along with Hunterdon Medical Center surgeons.
The new office is the latest development from the MidJersey Health Alliance, which was formed by Atlantic Health System and Hunterdon Healthcare to serve patients in Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Warren counties.
Through the alliance, each system retains its independence, while creating significant clinical and economic efficiencies to lower the cost of healthcare while providing the highest quality services.
Wise was enthusiastic about the expansion into the heart of Somerset County, saying that it will bring the specialty services “to where people live.”
Robert Wise, the president and CEO of Hunterdon Healthcare, cuts the ribbon with the help of board members and staffers at the grand opening of Hunterdon Healthcare’s Somerset Medical Office Building on Route 22 in Bridgewater. (Photo: Mike Deak/Staff)
Likewise RWJBarnabas Health has already opened a walk-in clinic on Route 202-31 in Raritan Township and a physical therapy office on the Flemington Circle.
To offer the most comprehensive range of care to patients, Wise said Hunterdon Healthcare will be opening an Urgent Care Center on Route 206 south of the Somerville Circle in Raritan Borough later this year.
On July 25, Hunterdon Healthcare will open an Urgent Care Center at 63 Church St. Flemington in a space formerly occupied by a shoe outlet.
“Situations calling for urgent medical attention cannot always wait for when your physician’s office is open, but often do not always warrant a trip to the emergency department,” Wise said. “Hunterdon Healthcare Urgent Care is the perfect alternative and the center is staffed by the same boardcertified emergency specialists who are caring for patients in our Emergency Department. We are committed to providing high-quality, convenient, efficient and affordable medical treatment to our residents.”
“For our patients who currently see a Hunterdon Healthcare practice, the Urgent Care will be able to view that patient’s medical record from their primary care office or specialist so the care will be coordinated and seamless,” said Christine Bogard, executive director, of Hunterdon Medical Practices.
That unified access to patients’ records will also be available at the Route 22 building, Wise said, adding that will eliminate duplication of services.
Michael Kerwin, president and CEO of the Business Partnership of Somerset County, said Hunterdon Healthcare’s investment in the vacant building was “impressive.”
He said the medical offices were an example of the partnership’s a goal to encourage new uses for aging and vacant office space in Somerset County.
The three-story space has been designed to be “patient-friendly,” said architect Lloyd Rosenberg of DMR Architects in Hasbrouck Heights.
That’s apparent in the physical therapy space when windows reach from the floor to the arched ceiling, providing a light-filled and energetic atmosphere. In the cardiovascular office, patients performing a stress test can look out a window and see only trees.
“It’s fantastic,” said Steven Judd, a senior physical therapist. “This is very nice. It’s a positive space.”
Hunterdon Healthcare and Atlantic Health Systems have opened a new medical office building on westbound Route 22 in Bridgewater. (Photo: Hunterdon Healthcare)
This article was originally featured on myCentralJersey.com.