Capital Health to Close Satellite Emergency Department in Trenton
Two years after leaving its Mercer hospital in Trenton for the newly constructed medical center in Hopewell Township, Capital Health has announced it will close the satellite emergency department it has maintained at the former site on Bellevue Avenue.
Average daily visits dropped from 61 in November 2011 to 32 in March, but some days the department sees as few as 12 patients. The majority of those patients do not require emergency care and would be better served in a primary-care setting, the Capital Health officials said in a news release.
“Not only is it better for patients to develop relationships with primary-care providers, but the cost for treatment in the emergency department setting is significantly greater than treatment provided in a physician’s office,” said Eileen Horton, vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer at Capital Health.
The New Jersey Department of Health approved the closure, set for Dec. 17, and said the other two emergency departments in the city — at Capital Health Regional Medical Center on Brunswick Avenue and St. Francis Medical Center at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Chambers Street — are equipped to provide emergency care for residents, the release said.
News of the closure comes just days after Capital Health announced it completed an expansion of its emergency department at the Brunswick Avenue campus, making it the largest emergency room in Trenton. It is now equipped with 35 beds, including three designated for urgent-care patients, hospital spokeswoman Jayne O’Connor said earlier this week.
Capital Health will inform patients and community members in the 30 days leading up to the move about the changes and will help those seeking nonemergency care find primary care providers, the release said.
“We have been working closely with the Trenton Health Team, and specifically, Henry J. Austin Health Center, to help patients understand where to go for nonemergency care. The goal, of course, is to encourage use of the city’s primary-care providers as medical homes, where patients can receive on-going and more comprehensive care,” said Dr. Robert Remstein, vice president of accountable care at Capital Health and president of the Trenton Health Team.
The Trenton Health Team, started in 2006 and formally incorporated in 2010, is an alliance comprised of the City of Trenton, Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center and the Henry J. Austin Health Center.
Since its inception, the THT has been focused on providing better care for the city’s economically struggling residents, spokeswoman Becky Taylor has said.
Capital Health sold the Bellevue Avenue site in September to Priti Pandya-Patel, founder of Global Life Enterprises. The private company seeks to develop the 650,000-square-foot space into a health and wellness complex.
John Simone, whose company, Simone Realty, acted as the broker for the sale, said the redevelopment of the property will bring in more activity and people to the area. Simone also said because the property is now in the hands of a private company, the sale is also a boon to the city tax rolls.
About the Trenton Health Team
Trenton Health Team (THT) is an alliance of the city’s major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s active social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city. THT aims to make Trenton the healthiest city in the state. Support for the Trenton Health Team was provided in part by a grant from The Nicholson Foundation. For more information, visit www.trentonhealthteam.org.