Morristown Medical Center cuts ribbon on expansion of Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute (SLIDESHOW)

Morristown Medical Center cut the ribbon on the second of its two new 36-bed units for patients with heart disease Tuesday, completing a two-story expansion of the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute.

The unit will serve cardiac surgery patients, while the first 36-bed unit, which opened in November, serves structural heart disease patients who have complex disorders and diseases of the heart.

This expands the heart care program at Morristown Medical Center — named the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report — to 180 beds, all within its Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute.

Trish O’Keefe, the president of Morristown Medical Center and a vice president of Atlantic Health System, said the institute will help meet demand for expert heart care.

“The completion of the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute expansion further illustrates our deep commitment to grow and meet the continued needs of our patients, who come from all over the country to Morristown Medical Center to receive life-saving care,” she said.

“We are proud that Morristown Medical Center is home to one of our nation’s leading cardiology programs and some of the most highly skilled cardiologists and caregivers who provide extraordinary caring each and every day.”

Morristown Medical Center was ranked as the No. 26 hospital in the country for Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care by Healthgrades.

It is home to the largest cardiac surgery and cath lab in New Jersey and offers many of the most up-to-date cardiac imaging technologies available, O’Keefe said. And its medical team presents research across the world and is comprised of cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologists, heart failure experts and advanced imagers.

The program also offers specialty care for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, sports cardiology, cardio-oncology, pediatric cardiology and heart disease in women.

The two-story vertical expansion began in December 2017 in response to high demand. More than 100,000 heart patients are served each year, and this number is expected to increase significantly as the population continues to age.

Dr. Linda Gilliam, the Dorothy and Lloyd Huck Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Morristown Medical Center and medical director of the cardiovascular service line for Atlantic Health System, said the institute will add to Morristown’s reputation and appeal.

“With this much-needed expansion complete, we will be able to offer exemplary cardiac care to more patients who trust Morristown Medical Center’s experts with their hearts,” she said. “We take great pride in the fact that our heart care program and medical center are among the best in the nation, and this state-of-the-art expansion of the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute will further enhance the care and overall experience we provide to our patients.”

In addition to 72 new private patient rooms, the 55,400-square-foot addition increases clinical space and adds a dedicated MRI, for the exclusive use of cardiac patients, she said.

Neil and Lois Gagnon, who helped establish the Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute in 2008, have continued their generosity and made the lead gift to facilitate the Institute’s expansion, which is a part of the Growing Forward Campaign.

“We were thrilled to have a role in shaping cardiovascular care in our community. We’re proud of this facility and support the life-saving work that is performed here, day in and day out,” Neil Gagnon, Foundation for Morristown Medical Center honorary trustee, said.