Hackensack Meridian Health Eatontown NJ center begins construction
EATONTOWN – It doesn’t sound like much now, but workers have started transforming a former big box shoe store on Route 35 into a new health and wellness center for Hackensack Meridian Health.
Leaders marked the start of construction that will create the outpatient facility, including an emergency care center, in a ceremony Friday.
It is located in Monmouth Plaza, an iconic shopping center on Route 35 in Wyckoff Road, in a nearly 50,000 square foot space that once housed DSW and Eastern Mountain Sports. Although it is not officially confirmed, an Amazon Fresh supermarket is under construction next to the former Toys R Us.
“Care literally extends beyond the four walls of the hospital,” said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, in a tent outside the former DSW. A banner above the door reads “Hackensack Meridian Health & Wellness Center Coming Soon”.
“We understand the community’s need for high quality care that is not only high quality, but also convenient and affordable. That’s why we’re expanding our footprint to include more hands-on care in the community. “
It will bring together the network’s doctors and outpatient services under one roof. An emergency care center will first be built, offering walk-in care and virtual visits to residents, including overnight and on weekends. It should open by Christmas.
It will also need to provide more advanced services, including x-rays, minor surgeries, stitches for injuries, and treatment of fractures, sprains and strains.
Other services will also find their place in the establishment, including pediatrics, primary care, obstetrics and gynecology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as laboratory work and mammography.
Closer to the people
The new facility is just the latest move by healthcare companies to move into retail hubs, centrally located places people shop and visit.
Currently, RWJBarnabas Health Family Care & Wellness, a project of Monmouth Medical Center and Specialist Children’s Hospital, is under construction at Monmouth Mall.
RWJBarnabas Health is also leasing part of a former Super Foodtown supermarket on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River for use as a primary care practice.
It’s all part of the healthcare industry’s focus on preventative medicine and wellness, a trend aimed at coordinating patient care and avoiding costly hospital stays.
The Eatontown Ambulatory Care Center is the first that Hackensack Meridian Health plans to open in New Jersey.
“It will be great to have primary care physicians able to connect with their specialists who are right down the hall,” said Michael Geiger, senior vice president of healthcare companies at Hackensack Meridian Health.
“This place is going to be teeming with patients, doctors, families, and our focus here is really to try to improve the health and well-being of the community of Eatontown.”
The building is designed to facilitate communication between doctors, nurses and support staff, said breast surgeon Dr Debra E. Camal.
“Medicine should be a team sport. We all like to work together,” she said. With a center like Eatontown, a doctor who finds a lump on a patient’s breast can quickly speak to a specialist in the hallway.
“In every community, it is really essential for busy working families to get this kind of care that they need close to their homes,” she said. “It is designed for everyone in the region.”
David P. Willis, an award-winning business writer, has covered business and consumer news at Asbury Park Press for over 20 years. He writes APP.com’s What’s Going There and Press on Your Side columns and can be contacted at [email protected] Join his What’s happening on Facebook page for updates.