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Barnabas Health looking to add cardiac surgery to Community Medical

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Citing a dense population of elderly residents in Ocean County, Barnabas Health is pursuing a cardiac surgical program for Community Medical Center in Toms River, but faces plenty of opposition in doing so.

According to Barnabas, transferring patients to the closest cardiac surgery hospitals — Deborah Heart and Lung Center, in the Browns Mills section of Pemberton, and Jersey Shore Medical Center, in Neptune — increases the risk of death among cardiac patients and can cause charges not covered by health insurance.

Deborah CEO Joseph P. Chirichella has said publicly that a cardiac surgery center in Ocean County was unnecessary, as travel times are short to Deborah and Jersey Shore’s cardiac centers.

Barnabas has received resolutions of support for a cardiac surgery center from the county freeholders and board of health, as well as from leaders of the various townships and boroughs in the county.

Community Medical Center submitted an application in early July to the state to call for a certificate of need request for cardiac surgery in Ocean County, according to Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Donna Leusner. Leusner said the department is waiting for a response from Community on several questions before entering the 90-day decision making period of whether to call for applicants.

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