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Ocean Medical Center opens new $82M emergency department

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Ocean Medical Center, part of the Meridian Health system, will open its new $82 million emergency department on Thursday, March 6.
Ocean Medical Center, part of the Meridian Health system, will open its new $82 million emergency department on Thursday, March 6. - ()

Ocean Medical Center in Brick on Thursday will open its new $82 million emergency department which has 49 private rooms and dedicated areas for behavioral health and pediatrics.

Ocean Medical, part of the Meridian Health system, said it raised $10 million for the new ED, including $5 million from the Hovnanian family. The new building has been named the Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Emergency Care Center.

When the hospital's original ED opened in 1984, it saw 17,000 visits a year. Now, Ocean treats over 55,000 emergency patients per year and the new facility will accommodate 70,000.

The four-story ED has a basement for support and mechanical services, with the ED on the first floor. The second and third floor shell spaces for future use.

Dean Lin, president of Ocean Medical, said that instead of curtains, the private rooms "have solid walls and doors and are large enough to accommodate a couple of family members."

Ocean Medical is projecting an increased demand for ED services, in part because "with health reform and more people being covered (by health plans) that is going to potentially increase the appetite for health care services," Lin said.

He said Ocean Medical's "reputation and quality has drawn more patients."

At Ocean Medical, as at other ED's nationwide, "we see a mix of patients with different levels of acuity," he said.

He said 40 to 50 percent of the patients are true emergencies while other cases that come into the ED can be treated safely in outpatient facilities. Ocean Medical is "investing in primary care and in walk-in care – we have that full strategy. But we know that people will still use our emergency care center. It's consumer preference, but we are opening other sites where people can get care (for cases) that are not true emergencies."

The patient experience is foremost in the new ED, Lin said.

"When you come in you are greeted and taken right back to your treatment room – there is no waiting. It is more than just a big beautiful building. It is about how we are delivering care, such as having dedicated areas with specialized expertise. We want to make sure when people come here they can feel comfortable and relaxed that we understand their needs and we are taking care of them."


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