At AtlantiCare, new pavilion is all about increasing access — and expanding programs

 Its 70,000-square-foot building, in the heart of the city, has special emphasis on maternal care

AtlantiCare cut the ribbon Tuesday on its $38.3 million Medical Arts Pavilion — a three-story, 70,000-square-foot building in the heart of the city aimed at addressing community health and wellness issues and needs by expanding the system’s existing facilities and programs.

“We were maxed out on space,” CEO Lori Herndon said. “And we had gaps in our programs because we didn’t have enough capacity, we didn’t have enough exam rooms.

“We needed full-time family planning; we needed full-time maternal fetal medicine — we needed a place to put it all.”

The new building, which AtlantiCare anticipates will be open to patients in December, pending final approvals from the New Jersey Department of Health, will fill in those gaps, especially when it comes to maternity care. It also will include a 40-bed dialysis center and a floor devoted to medical education training, including a 10-room simulation lab.

And, while it will have an impact on hundreds of residents on a daily basis, Herndon noted that the building’s success truly will be able to be measured one patient at a time.

And do it from a one-on-one perspective in a modern setting that is welcoming.

“It’s going to create relationships where people in the community will know they have somebody who’s advocating for them and listening to them,” she said. “This is going to create a tighter relationship.”

Herndon said the building, which sits on the spot that housed Atlantic City’s first hospital, is a federally qualified health center that is all about increasing access.

AtlantiCare at a glance

AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It comprises AtlantiCare Regional Health Services, including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center with three locations, ambulatory services and AtlantiCare Physician Group; the AtlantiCare Foundation; and AtlantiCare Health Solutions, an accountable care organization.

The region’s largest health care organization and largest noncasino employer, AtlantiCare’s more than 6,000 staff, and providers serve the community in more than 100 locations in five southern New Jersey counties.

It will include a Safe Beginnings program, that is all about caring for mothers while they are pregnant — and then during the first year after delivering.

And, since the pavilion is a federal qualified health center, it will be able to serve all, regardless of their ability to pay.

“We take pride in the fact that our services and programs are for everybody,” Herndon said.

The building, which is located at 7 S. Ohio Ave., stands on the same block on which AtlantiCare opened as Atlantic City Hospital 124 years ago.

The symbolism of the address is key, Herndon said.

“This pavilion reaffirms our commitment to Atlantic City,” she said.