With JFK joining the network, Hackensack Meridian Health will expand to 16 hospitals, have more than 160 patient care locations, employ nearly 33,000 team members — including 6,500 staff physicians — and maintain 4,520 beds.
“We’re not obsessed with the idea of size; our goal has always been to improve the care of the local communities,” said John K. Lloyd, co-CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health. “We are most proud that we are the most comprehensive integrated health network.”
Lloyd and Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health, sited their long relationship with JFK over many years and their belief in location as factors for the merger.
“We have a long history together through our partnerships with rehabilitation and home care and we are both committed to providing the most advanced treatment,” said Lloyd.
“They [JFK] link the southern with the northern part of our network,” Garrett stated. “It enables us to service two-thirds of the population of the state.”
While Hackensack Meridian Health has continued to pursue a growth strategy, the health network said it believes in serving communities by bringing excellent care locally and not having patients travel far distances for care. An example of this includes its partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Along with the merger, Hackensack Meridian Health announced its plans to invest $12 million in a major expansion of the cardiac catheterization lab at JFK Medical Center to be completed this year — pending regulatory approval.
“The project will also add a treatment suite that will consolidate and expand non-invasive cardiac diagnostic services — echocardiograms, EKG and vascular studies–in one accessible and convenient location,’’ said Garrett.
He added: “What we hope to do with this expansion is increase capacity and serve more residents who need it. In addition to that, [we want] to improve the quality.”
Along with the cardiac lab, JFK’s Neuroscience Institute will be the first in the state to offer virtual reality (VR) in neurosurgery, according to Raymond Fredericks, president and CEO, JFK Health.
“Using scans of the patient’s own anatomy, we can create a 3-D, 360 degree view of the patient’s brain,” Fredericks said. “We will be able to sit with the patient and their family to talk about the care plan and show them exactly how they are going to approach that surgery.”
The virtual reality combines flight simulation technology and will allow neurosurgeons to slip on a VR headset and see exceptionally detailed images to determine the best strategy to target pathologies while preserving normal tissue to achieve optimal outcomes.
With the addition of JFK Health, Hackensack Meridian Health’s portfolio will consist of hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, including three academic medical centers — Hackensack University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, JFK Medical Center — and two children’s hospitals.
Fredericks will continue as president of JFK and his role will evolve in terms of responsibilities. He believes the long-standing medical center will better serve patients in Edison and Middlesex county.
“We are excited about the care offerings to this community that we have not been able to do as a standalone, community hospital,” he said.