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Somerville Hospital Continues to Expand Patient Services One Year after Merger

From left, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson; Tony Cava, RWJUH/Somerset; Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Steeplechase Cancer Center; Don Tozzi, Basilone Foundation, at a children's Christmas party Credits: Courtesy RWJUH/Somerset

SOMERVILLE, NJ - When Robert Wood Johnson Health System and Barnabas Health merged on March 31, 2016, the most comprehensive health system in New Jersey was created – RWJBarnabas Health.

With a reach of approximately 5 million people - more than half of the state’s population – the partnership has helped to advance the health of the region, especially in Somerset County as well as across the state.

In the months following the merger, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset has embarked on several improvement projects with a focus on expanding access to comprehensive care for the local community.

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“Over the past several months, we have made positive changes and improvements, while launching a number of projects to enhance the medical care and services we provide,” said Anthony V. Cava, chief administrative officer of RWJUH/Somerset.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in a short period and are excited about what we’ve been able to achieve and what is next. We remain focused on providing comprehensive treatment options and expanded access to top specialists for Central Jersey residents,” he added.

RWJUH/Somerset has embarked on several projects and programs to enhance and expand access to high-quality care to better serve its patients and the community. Key initiatives and accomplishments include:

PROUD Family Health: RWJUH/Somerset became the first hospital in New Jersey to offer specialized primary care services for the LGBTQIA community when the hospital opened its PROUD Family Health on Jan. 30th.

PROUD Family Health provides services tailored to meet the unique health care needs of the LGBTQIA community in a safe, supportive environment. Services include primary medical care for children and adults, hormone therapy and monitoring, HIV care, health education, counseling, support groups and referrals for specialty services such as behavioral health. PROUD Family Health is open on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Medicare, Medicaid and most major insurance plans are accepted. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-855- PROUD-FH (1-855-776-8334).

Maternity Unit Renovations Completed: Renovations to RWJUH/Somerset’s maternity unit have been completed. With a goal of enhancing the comfort and quality of care for patients and their families, renovations included updates to labor and delivery rooms and post-partum rooms, including new furniture, flooring, paint and décor, as well as enhanced security systems.

All patient rooms are private with a private bathroom and a recliner for fathers and feature the GetWellNetwork®, an interactive patient education television system which offers access to the internet, email and videos about health-related topics during a patient’s stay in the hospital. The maternity unit provides a wide-range of services for expectant mothers, newborns and their families, including a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery. For more information about maternity services at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, visit www.rwjuh.edu.

Walgreen’s Pharmacy Open: Walgreens pharmacy is open in the Emergency Department, enabling patients to get their prescriptions filled before going home. The pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is staffed by two pharmacists and two pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy staff bring medications to patients’ rooms before they are discharged and explain why the medications were prescribed, recommended dosage and potential side effects. Hospital employees and community members may also use the pharmacy to fill prescriptions.

Fuld Auditorium Renovations:  The hospital’s Fuld Auditorium was renovated in 2016 with state-of-the-art audio-visual and videoconferencing technologies. The auditorium is used for community education programs and support group meetings.

Lung Cancer Screening Program: RWJUH’s New Brunswick and Somerset campuses have merged their Low-Dose Lung Cancer Screening Programs, which offers low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans to aid in identifying lung cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages, to make it easier and more convenient for patients to be screened and treated at the facility closest to them.

The hospital is offering this program in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and University Radiology Group. Criteria for lung cancer screening vary among commercial insurance companies. Pre-authorization is required for the test. To start the process, individuals call a new centralized scheduling line at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Lung Cancer Screening Program – 1-855-RWJ-LUNG. Between July and December 2016, 176 patients were screened.

Expanded Access to Cancer Care:  Patients at the Steeplechase Cancer Center now have access to a wider range of specialists, including a fellowship-trained breast surgeon from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who began seeing patients at the cancer center in 2016.

The cancer’s radiation oncology services recently expanded with the addition of stereotactic body radiation therapy, which offers faster treatment for prostate cancer. In addition, the cancer center will soon be offering genetic counseling services and will be expanding integrative medicine services, such as massage and reiki, for inpatients.

The improvements and enhancements at RWJUH Somerset will continue throughout the remainder of the year. Upcoming projects for the remainder of 2017 include:

Pediatric telemedicine connecting RWJUH/Somerset Emergency Department physicians to pediatric specialists at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital;

New Positron Emission Tomography – A computed Tomography (PET/CT) scanner for the diagnosis and staging of cancer to be located in the Steeplechase Cancer Center;

Surgical Services Department Renovations -  An $11 million renovation project to expand services, improve efficiency and enhance the patient experience. The project includes the relocation of the Same Day Unit, renovation of the Endoscopy Suite, and construction of new waiting rooms and patient holding areas;

Cardiology Services Renovations and Expansion - The hospital’s three-year cardiology expansion project will begin later this year and will include converting 20 patient rooms on the cardiology unit to private rooms, adding new waiting and holding areas for testing and procedural areas, installing new state-of-the-art wireless telemetry monitoring and adding the Get Well Network’s interactive patient education system. All cardiology services will be consolidated on the hospital’s second floor, including outpatient cardiac testing;

Behavioral Health Renovations – Renovations have begun on the hospital’s behavioral health unit to enhance the comfort and safety of patients. The hospital is also working with RWJBarnabas Health’s Behavioral Health Network to expand and grow the behavioral health services available to our community;

Vascular Lab Services Renovations and Expansion – Work is under way on renovations to the former Maternal Fetal Medicine space on the hospital’s lobby level where the Vascular Laboratory will be relocated. The new space is located near the Center for Wound Healing. Renovations and should be completed in April;

Relocation of Rehabilitation Medicine and Speech / Hearing Services – Speech and Hearing Services, currently located on the second floor, will be moved to the lobby level later this year to accommodate construction for Cardiovascular Services. Physical and Occupational Therapy will be moved to the hospital’s third floor from their current location on the second floor.

“Meeting the needs of our community and the people we serve is what drives us to continue to evolve our services and how we provide care,” added Cava. “As we embark on several renovation projects, we will continue to have our patients at the forefront of our care, and make strategic decisions to meet the challenges presented by today’s complex health care environment to ensure that we deliver the highest level of care and services to our patients and the community.”

 To learn more about RWJUH, please visit www.rwjuh.edu. 

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