On April 14, New Jersey state and local officials came to University Hospital and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School to show support for Governor Phil Murphy’s approval of $500,000 in funding earmarked for the construction of a new University Hospital facility in Newark in 2022.
According to the news release, “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.” It is a principal teaching hospital for all Newark-based medical education health centers, a notable one being Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, and stands as the Level 1 Trauma Center for northern New Jersey.
The news release also included data about the hospital’s enhanced performance since its initial establishment, stating that “through careful control of expenses and smart capital investments, UH now boasts positive bottom-line results after several years in the negative.” Additionally, after compiling information about conditions and infections acquired through hospital care, the quality of care has dramatically improved. The facility will allow for more technological advances to be implemented during practice, emphasizing the growth that the hospital has had throughout its history since 1882.
Dr. Shereef Elnahal is the 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,” he acknowledged. “A new, modern facility will allow us to meet and exceed these needs, in our quest to build a thriving and modern biomedical campus.”
“Completing over 96% of the State Monitor’s recommendations and invigorated by the momentum built over these last few years,” the news release stated, “the Hospital is destined for excellence, which will continue to be reflected in future reporting that includes more recent data.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka commented on the potential to improve access to healthcare for residents in the area. He believes it will “strengthen our entire health and medical community, especially as we emerge from the pandemic.” New Jersey State Senator Teresa Ruiz stated, “A new facility doesn’t solely open its doors to offering patients a better healthcare experience; it can create opportunities to expand the footprint of services offered and attract research funding. With the ongoing critical financial support from the state, UH will continue to be a place that offers equity in healthcare and will become one of the country’s best biomedical campuses.”
Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Dr. Brian Strom remarked, “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.” He highlighted that Rutgers is undoubtedly going to continue supporting Newark during this movement, whether it be through providing quality patient care, conducting research or responding to the pandemic as a city.
County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., among many other officials, thanks the governor for allocating this funding, which will contribute “greatly to the economic stability of Newark and Essex County. Developing new infrastructure is long overdue and will enable UH to continue to provide quality health, medical and emergency care for future generations.”