SUMMIT, NJ - Overlook Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, is the only hospital in the Garden State to be named to the 2018 list of "100 Great Community Hospitals" recently released by Becker’s Healthcare, a highly-regarded source of business and legal information for healthcare industry leaders, which includes Becker’s Hospital Review and other publications.
“As Overlook has steadily enhanced its clinical expertise and is now recognized in the region for its high-quality care, we’ve remained committed to our role as the caregiver for our communities, working every day both inside and outside the hospital to make them healthier,” said Alan Lieber, president of Overlook Medical Center.
The 504-bed hospital is a leading provider of unique specialty services in the area, including neuroscience, digestive diseases such as interventional gastroenterology, and specialized centers such as the Institute for Rheumatology and Autoimmune Diseases and Pediatric Eating Disorders Center. The main campus, based in Summit, is home to the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, recognized as the regional leader in neuroscience care and the regional hub for the New Jersey stroke network.
Overlook’s clinical excellence has been recognized nationally by Healthgrades and the American College of Surgeons, and regionally by U.S. News & World Report. In Spring 2018, the Leapfrog Group awarded Overlook its coveted “A” grade, highlighting its accomplishments in patient safety.
Throughout the last decade, Overlook has launched several initiatives to reach beyond the Summit campus to work directly within its communities.
In 2007, recognizing the need to maintain services directly in the heart of neighboring Union Township, Overlook took over the emergency department of the then-closing Union Hospital. The satellite emergency department of Overlook has thrived over the last decade, winning national recognition and anchoring the addition of other services needed by the community, such as an imaging center and rehabilitation services.
In addition to the Summit and Union locations, Overlook offers wellness and health improvement at Overlook Downtown, a convenient, storefront location in the heart of Summit. Overlook also operates the "Healthy Avenues Van," a mobile unit that serves 21 towns in Union County, providing screenings and education.
In 2017, Overlook’s Community Health department educated 8,280 people and performed 1,609 screenings, bringing its health programs to 27 towns in the region.
In 2014, Overlook began identifying neighborhoods with a higher incidence of disparities that led to health inequities. Joining forces in 2015 with the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network, Overlook has since then invested more than $215,000 in grants and provided hundreds of hours of support and assistance to help create healthier environments. This has included building access to exercise trails in Summit, partnering with corner stores to promote healthy eating in Plainfield, improving safe cycling in Union and mapping the food environment in Elizabeth. Through this initiative, in April 2018, Overlook fully funded the creation of the Vauxhall Community Garden in the township of Union. The garden will provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the community for free, while the rest of the produce will be donated to the local food pantry.
Overlook has launched numerous and nationally-recognized initiatives focused on environmental sustainability. The hospital’s rooftop beehives, which produce fresh, local honey and beeswax, and the hospital-owned community gardens, host “Bee Healthy” educational programs for local schools and organizations each year. In addition, the community gardens include handicap garden beds and regular beds that are available to lower income families at a reduced cost.
Overlook funded the renovation of a local multi-unit chicken coop and purchased 32 chickens, producing eggs for sale to staff and the community. Much of the proceeds from the garden and the chickens are donated to families in need. These sustainability achievements were recognized by Becker’s in their 2017 list of “60 of the greenest hospitals in America.”
Overlook is the employer host of Project SEARCH, a program which helps young adults with disabilities in Union County gain on-the-job experience. Now in its second year, Project SEARCH and Overlook have been recognized by several organizations for this initiative, which has led to employment for most of these young people.
Overlook has also supported community projects in its hometown, such as the Summit Park Line, a pedestrian park being built along the old Rahway Valley Railroad, part of which runs directly in front of Overlook.
Becker’s "100 great community hospitals 2018" list includes independent community hospitals as well as facilities affiliated with large health systems. Some hospitals serve expansive rural geographies, while others care for small communities outside of large cities. The hospitals continue to grow in many communities, opening new departments and sites to improve access to care.
The full list can be found at beckershospitalreview.com.