Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus opens Medical Behavioral Specialty Unit

Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood recently announced the opening of a new Medical Behavioral Specialty Unit, an eight-bed medical surgical unit dedicated to the comprehensive care of patients with behavioral health needs.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held March 4, when hospital leadership, board of trustees members and local dignitaries gathered to officially celebrate the opening.

The unit, located in a secured limited-access area of the hospital, is staffed with a dedicated team of nurses, clinical care technicians and mental health associates who are trained in both medical surgical and behavioral health care to care for hospitalized adults with active medical and psychiatric illnesses. Psychiatric resources also are available 24/7, whether physically or via TeleDoc.

MMCSC has created this unit to safely provide inpatient hospital care for patients with underlying behavioral health issues who need additional medical services due to a secondary diagnosis, according to MMCSC Chief Administrative Officer Philip Passes.

“These patients may have underlying medical diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, or needs that are underserved due to their behavioral health conditions that require specialty surgery that often go untreated,” Passes said. “Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus has created a specialty nursing unit to meet all of their health care needs in a nurturing and safe environment. We are very excited about this opportunity to deliver exceptional care to those who need it the most in our community and throughout the RWJBarnabas Health system.”

A 2023 statistical report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness notes 1.112 million adults over the age of 18 in New Jersey have a diagnosed mental health condition.

“This new unit truly embodies a multidisciplinary approach to whole patient care, involving collaboration from nursing, medical and behavioral team members,” Frank Ghinassi, senior vice president of behavioral health services at RWJBarnabas Health and CEO and president of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, said. “This new unit is an outstanding example of collaboration among disciplines and allows us the ability to not only care for the medical needs of our patients, but also address any mental health challenges they may be experiencing. Treating patients in this way leads to more positive outcomes and increased patient and family satisfaction.”