Dear Manchester Residents,
It was on March 10, 2008, I wrote a letter to our residents seeking help in getting the State Department of Health and Senior Services to allow in Toms River to perform elective angioplasty procedures and ultimately full cardiac surgery. Six years ago, Community’s application to provide these services was approved by the State Boards involved, but was then rejected by the Commissioner of Health in place at that time.
Community Medical Center, located here in Ocean County, is a 592 bed, fully accredited acute care hospital. It is the largest non-teaching hospital in the State, and Ocean County’s most active healthcare facility, and whose Emergency Department last year treated nearly 100,000 patients, making it one of the busiest Emergency Departments in the State of New Jersey, cared for over 28,000 inpatients and over 128,000 outpatients.
Community Medical Center is designated an elective angioplasty registry by the New Jersey Department of Health who also ranked Community as No. 1 in Ocean County in the treatment of heart attack and heart failure.
Ocean County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state with a population of 65-year-olds approaching 25 percent of total population. While the population in New Jersey only increased by 4.5 percent from 2000 to 2010, the population in Ocean County increased by 12.8 percent.
Three years ago, Community Medical Center’s application to perform full cardiac surgery procedures was not approved by the Commission of Health even though Community has highly experienced and qualified interventional cardiologists on staff.
The logical question is why has Community Medical Center’s application been denied in the past. The facts are that more Ocean County residents die from heart disease than other counties in New Jersey, more residents are treated for heart attacks, more residents undergo cardiac surgeries than residents of any other county in the State, and Ocean County residents who need cardiac surgery and their families are required to travel, in many cases, great distances.
Community Medical Center is again applying for permission to perform full cardiac surgery procedures. To this date, the State Department of Health has failed to recognize that our senior population is medically underserved.
Robert Anderson, M.D., Sebastian Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Chair (Emeritus) Department of Surgery, Duke Medical Center, said the following:
“The situation existing today places cardiovascular patients in Ocean County at high risk, jeopardizing both acute and long term care for patients, while causing substantial inconvenience for both patients and their families.”
If, after reading this, you feel the way I do, we as residents of Ocean County must become involved. Approval must be granted to Community Medical Center to perform full cardiac surgery services. Community is poised upon approval, to fill a cardiac surgery unit with an outstanding qualified staff. We must help to make this happen. Our lives may depend on it.