Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 24
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

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Princeton HealthCare CEO Discusses New Hospital at Senior Resource Center

Dilshanie Perera

During a community presentation hosted by the Senior Resource Center last Friday, Princeton HealthCare System President and CEO Barry Rabner spoke about the amenities of the new health campus being built in Plainsboro.

After reminding the audience that the size of the current hospital site in Princeton limits possibilities for expansion, Mr. Rabner explained how they had found the “perfect location” for a purposefully designed medical campus 2.5 miles away in Plainsboro, with 160-acres, and is closer to 70 percent of the population the hospital currently serves than the present location.

Mr. Rabner sought to assuage fears about the new location by noting that access would actually be much easier, and that a road off of Route 1 would allow ambulances onto the site quickly and directly.

As for traffic along Harrison Street, Mr. Rabner explained that the New Jersey Department of Transportation has committed to a number of changes at the intersection of Harrison and Route 1, including widening the road, and putting in a left turn lane, and allowing ambulance crews to use a remote control to change the traffic light.

The road changes would be in place prior to the formal move scheduled for late 2011.

Explaining the amenities of the new location, Mr. Rabner said that the main hospital building would include a seven-story patient tower with 230 beds, but with the possibility of adding floors to include 360 beds should the need arise.

The south side of the property overlooking the Millstone River is to be turned into a park featuring indigenous species and enclosing the new Merwick care and rehabilitation facility, with the hospital also facing south in order to take advantage of the maximum amount of natural light, Mr. Rabner said.

Additionally, the site will house a fitness and wellness center; an education center for teaching medical students as well as for community education programs; a library; an administration and medical office building; a specialized space for diagnostic treatments like imaging and radiology; a new emergency department that can accommodate 60,000 visits per year with the possibility of expansion; state-of-the-art operating suites; and a cogeneration power plant.

The emergency department is slated to have separate spaces for behavioral health needs, pediatric needs, and a fast track for “less complicated” emergencies, Mr. Rabner reported.

The hospital itself would offer “specialized services collected into one space,” such as a cancer center, and a cardiac and pulmonary care center, and the surgery located through specific portals off the main concourse. “We focused all our design decisions around what patients need,” Mr. Rabner explained, noting that the goal was to “create an environment that minimizes stress.”

The operating theaters will be 650 square foot spaces equipped with the latest technology, allowing physicians to verbally request data and control temperature and light settings. Additionally, patient rooms are designed to maximize safety and minimize disturbances.

Mr. Rabner said that the Princeton Healthcare System decided to partner with Windsor Healthcare in order to provide the long term nursing, subacute care, and rehabilitation services. The new Merwick Care and Rehabilitation Center will be twice the size of the older edifice, and will house 80 beds for subacute care and 120 for long term residential care.

President of Windsor Healthcare Hyman Jacobs explained that the new Merwick would be comprised of various connected buildings and will incorporate interior park spaces nestled in between the structures. The inpatient and outpatient dialysis performed there will service the community as well, he said.

“It will be the only private long term care facility in the U.S. that will be silver LEED certified,” Mr. Jacobs noted, referring to the national Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

As for the old hospital site in Princeton, Mr. Rabner explained that it was sold to Lubert-Adler, and that 280 units of housing would be built on site, with some retail on the first floor. The Merwick site was sold to Princeton University.

Free transportation from the old site to the new location would be provided either on demand or on a schedule once the move is complete, Mr. Rabner added.

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