Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian L. Strom and state and local officials expressed support yesterday for a new University Hospital facility in Newark included in Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D-N.J.) proposed 2022 budget, according to a press release.
The budget contains $500,000 to begin plans for such a facility, according to the release. These funds would go toward a study to explore what this building would look like as a way of helping improve the existing University Hospital’s delivery of care, said Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver (D-N.J.).
The other officials in support of the provision were University Hospital President and CEO Shereef Elnahal, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka (D-N.J.), Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. (D-N.J.) and Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29), according to the release.
“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,” Strom said, according to the release.
The existing infrastructure of University Hospital, which opened in 1979, has grown increasingly old, whereas the needs of the Newark community have grown, especially with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the release.
“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,” Elnahal said, according to the release.
He said University Hospital has proven worthy of an investment in a new facility through improvements in its quality of care and financial performance, in accordance with assigned tasks from Murphy’s 2018 Monitor’s Report, according to the release. This report previously found that University Hospital was performing poorly in these areas and in need of intervention.
University Hospital has completed more than 90 percent of the state’s recommendations, according to the release. Officials said a new facility would provide an example for the future of academic medicine and public health.
“As we dream about what a new University Hospital could look like, Rutgers will continue our important work with the city of Newark like partnering with the city on the COVID-19 pandemic response, conducting robust and life-changing research and delivering quality patient care across a spectrum of specialties within the region,” Strom said, according to the release.