As part of its multi-year strategic roadmap to best serve the South Jersey/Delaware Valley region and beyond, Virtua Health announced transformational renovations of two of its acute care facilities: Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, and Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly.
Framed as “Advancing Well into the future,” this significant reinvestment in acute care campuses positions South Jersey’s largest health system to meet the evolving needs of the community and establishes centers of excellence for advanced clinical care.
“The health systems that thrive are the ones that adapt to the dynamic shifts occurring around us while adhering to their core values and mission,” says Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Virtua Health. “As we continue to reimagine all of the ways Virtua can enhance the health and wellbeing of this community, we’re excited to share our vision and our here-for-good commitment.”
One of the focal points of the Advancing Well into the future roadmap is to cement the position of Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital as a regional destination for high-acuity cardiovascular, neuroscience, and transplant services. This month, July 2021, marks the two-year anniversary of Virtua’s acquisition of Lourdes Health System.
“Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes offers advanced tertiary care and services, including a comprehensive cardiovascular and neuroscience portfolio. With this investment, we are not only creating new, modernized spaces, but equipping our facility with the best technology and contemporary amenities,” says Mark Nessel, senior vice president for Virtua Health and president of Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
This includes making the campus more accessible through expanded parking and a new, welcoming main lobby. It also prioritizes the guest experience by making all patient rooms private.
Campus improvements began in late 2020 with renovated parking lots. The entire project – including a new tower – will take approximately five years to complete.
With a history dating to the 1880s, Virtua Memorial Hospital has provided care to generations of Burlington County residents. Like Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, the facility will receive a dramatic investment and emerge as a significant hub for interventional procedures and surgeries, maternity services, and acute care.
The intention is to contemporize the facility, expand niche service offerings, and improve the overall flow of operations for patients, visitors, and staff. The plan includes 10 new operating rooms, new labs and medical suites, an expanded emergency department, and renovated hospital units.
Virtua Memorial will also receive a new name. Virtua Memorial Hospital will become Virtua Mount Holly Hospital, aligning its naming convention with Virtua’s other location-based acute-care facilities. (Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital will retain its name in honor of its Catholic legacy.)
“The scope of this plan is massive; all patient-facing areas will experience some degree of transformation,” says John Kirby, senior vice president for Virtua Health and president of Virtua Mount Holly and Virtua Willingboro hospitals. “When this renovation is complete, we will basically have a brand-new hospital.
“Our patients are the driving force behind all decisions,” Kirby notes. “From the moment they arrive to the time they return home, we want to anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.”
Construction for the reimagined Virtua Mount Holly Hospital will begin in late 2021 and continue for several years. Virtua Mount Holly and Virtua Willingboro hospitals will remain closely aligned throughout the renovation and beyond, to provide seamless patient experiences.
As part of this comprehensive plan for Virtua’s future, the organization no longer plans to build a hospital in Westampton. This reflects Virtua’s decision to reinvest in the Virtua Mount Holly campus, as well as Virtua’s expanded footprint in Burlington County following the acquisition of Lourdes Health System in 2019.
“Virtua and Lourdes coming together in 2019 allowed us to re-envision how to best deliver care throughout the region. Our integration was, in some ways, accelerated by the pandemic, and now we are moving forward as a unified, mission-driven organization,” says Dr. John Matsinger, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Virtua Health. “Each of Virtua’s five hospitals will play a vital role in our future success.”
Virtua Voorhees Hospital, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in May, is also the focus of continuous transformation. Later this year, Virtua will open South Jersey’s first freestanding midwifery birth and wellness center on the Virtua Voorhees campus. Construction is also underway for South Jersey’s first proton therapy center – in partnership with Penn Medicine.
The “Advancing Well” concept extends beyond acute care to include other key aspects of Virtua’s strategy. The new Virtua Medical Transport service is generating patient (and provider) satisfaction by ensuring operational standards that prioritize safety, quality, and efficiency, as well as hallmark service excellence. The first transport vehicle (or “unit”) launched in late 2020, and nearly two dozen units are now active.
Virtua will continue to invest in and expand Virtua Medical Group – which today includes 250-plus practices and around 900 clinicians. As one of the largest health system joint-venture providers of ambulatory surgery (26 locations and counting), Virtua will reach new communities by forging partnerships in Pennsylvania and Delaware, in addition to New Jersey.
Recognizing the rise in consumerism and the untapped potential of emergent technology, Virtua has established a digital transformation team and roadmap. This team – including clinicians, data analysts, marketing and information technology professionals, and experts in patient experience – is expanding telehealth services, developing a more integrated digital infrastructure, and enhancing the delivery of a more intuitive and convenient user experience.
Recognizing that a person’s health is influenced by socioeconomic, environmental, and behavioral factors – Virtua will continue to rally behind the community through its widening outreach initiatives. More specifically, the “Eat Well” food access programs will expand to improve communities’ access to nutritious foods so that convenience stores and fast-food restaurants are not the default selection. The Eat Well team supports nutrition as the foundation for a healthy lifestyle and communities of wellness.
“We have a real responsibility to our community to provide the best possible health care experiences, from start to finish,” Pullin says. “Advancing Well is how we do it.”
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