County supports hospital’s cardiac surgery application

County supports hospital’s
cardiac surgery application

Citing the growing senior citizen population and the need to access cardiac care close to home, the Ocean County Board of Freeholders has pledged its support to Community Medical Center’s efforts to establish a cardiac surgery program at the facility in Toms River.

"Our residents deserve to have the best medical care possible and it should be available to them right here in Ocean County," said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as chairman of the Office of Senior Services. "With a growing senior citizen population, many of whom have heart problems, this cardiac surgery program will provide numerous and long-lasting health benefits to so many loved ones."

According to a press release, Community Medical Center’s application to provide cardiac surgery has been approved by the State Health Planning Board and is before the Commissioner’s Office.

"Community Medical Center has worked diligently for several years in making this application before the state," said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. "The state needs to hear this urgent plea and allow for the creation of this program."

Community Medical Center is New Jersey’s largest non-teaching medical center with 596 beds. The hospital in Toms River has New Jersey’s busiest emergency department and treated 87,910 patients in 2003. And, the hospital served more patients with cardiovascular related disease than 12 of the existing New Jersey cardiac surgery centers, according to the press release.

The hospital also has the highest number of Acute Myocardial Infarction admissions in the state.

"Community Medical Center’s patient population mirrors Ocean County with the highest number of patients in the nation who are over 85 years of age," Vicari said. "A cardiac care surgery program in Ocean County would relieve obstacles for patients, spouses, family members and friends who must travel to hospitals outside Ocean County for care or to visit loved ones."

The freeholders were scheduled to formally pass a resolution supporting the cardiac surgery program at their regular meeting Jan. 21.

"On behalf of the administration and Board of Trustees of Community Medical Center, we are extremely grateful for the support of the Ocean County Board of Freeholders," said Nancy L. Wollen, executive director, Community Medical Center.

"With their assistance, we hope the commissioner of health will approve our application to make cardiac surgery a reality for Ocean County residents at Community Medical Center," Wollen said.