New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver and other state and local officials visited University Hospital (UH) and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (Rutgers NJMS) today to express their support for funding, within Governor Murphy’s Budget, for planning efforts to define a new University Hospital facility in Newark. The governor’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget contains a specific $500,000 line item for such funding.
Joining Lt. Governor Oliver at the announcement were University Hospital President and CEO Shereef Elnahal, MD, MBA; Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian L. Strom; Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka; Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.; and New Jersey State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz.
“As we move forward in our recovery from COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of the critical role that our healthcare system plays in the state. That is why Governor Murphy’s budget includes significant quality of life investments to help make New Jersey a healthier place to live for all our residents,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “This proposed funding for University Hospital, for a study to explore a new plan and design for its physical campus here in Newark, is going to help address the hospital’s needs and allow it to improve the delivery of care that our communities so heavily rely on, especially as we endure this pandemic.”
The current 519-bed University Hospital opened in 1979 and has been relying on its aging infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the community it serves. In 2020, University Hospital handled 83,122 emergency department visitors, 15,572 inpatient admissions, and 199,804 outpatient clinic visits. As the Level 1 Trauma Center for Northern New Jersey, the institution and the community would also benefit from new and expanded capacity to deliver comprehensive care for its patients.
As the principal teaching hospital for all Newark-based medical education, a new University Hospital facility will also serve as a model for the future of academic medicine and public health, providing a premier regional resource for advanced services across many medical specialties.
“Since the Newark Accords were signed, it has been on University Hospital to deliver for Newark and Essex County, first and foremost,” said Shereef Elnahal, MD, MBA, President and CEO of University Hospital. “With the growing primary care needs of our community, health equity lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, a budding, post-pandemic mental health crisis, and the community’s demand for more comprehensive and specialized care, our current facilities are bursting at the seams.
“A new, modern facility will allow us to meet and exceed these needs, in our quest to build a thriving and modern biomedical campus. We have also proven worthy of these investments – with marked improvements in quality, financial performance, regulatory compliance, and near-universal achievement of all tasks placed upon us in the Governor’s 2018 Monitor’s Report – and are poised to design and execute on a new campus for the community we serve,” Elnahal said.
“The governor’s proposed budget allows us an opportunity to study what an academic health center should look like in the 21st century and how it can serve Newark and its surrounding communities,” said Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH. “As we dream about what a new University Hospital could look like, Rutgers will continue our important work with the City of Newark, like partnering with the city on the COVID-19 pandemic response, conducting robust and life-changing research, and delivering quality patient care across a spectrum of specialties within the region.”
“An expansion of University Hospital would help improve access to healthcare and services for our Newark residents, while continuing to build upon the strong commitment to our community,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “I’m thankful for Dr. Elnahal’s vision and for the leadership of Governor Murphy, our State legislators, County and local partners for believing in the significance of the support this brand new facility can bring for so many families and further strengthen our entire health and medical community, especially as we emerge from the pandemic.”
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