OHI Building Projects in Lakewood and Toms River Now Completed
Dr. Theresa Berger, CEO of Ocean Health Initiatives (OHI), has announced that several building projects are now completed owing to a $4.7 million grant opportunity from the Facility Investment Program (FIP), made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009,.
The improvements to OHI’s current service sites in Lakewood and Toms River will meet the growing demand for healthcare services and will increase access to quality health care for the medically disenfranchised patient populations of Ocean County.
The FIP funding expanded OHI health care centers by a combined 20,100 square feet, including 32 new exam rooms. At the Lakewood site, this funding paid for the addition of a new 8,000 square-foot
OB/GYN and pediatric wing above the existing building. The renovation and alteration of existing clinical space added 7,300 square feet.
Among other improvements, the Toms River site gained 12 new medical exam rooms, two wait areas, a Health Education Room, and two registration areas with increased privacy for staff addressing
confidential patient issues.
In addition to increasing access to health care for the target population, the improvements will also create more than 96 new jobs in Ocean County, including a total of 40 clinical and administrative full-time employees.
Dr. Berger says, “Our goals are to lower the cost of health care at a local level, provide jobs to area residents, and increase access of healthcare to high-risk populations. With the support of many people and agencies, over time our efforts will result in more positive health outcomes for the communities we serve.”
Of the more than 600 applications submitted, OHI was one of 85 FQHCs (federally qualified healthcare centers) across the nation and only one of four healthcare centers in New Jersey to receive the FIP funding.
Ocean Health Initiatives (OHI) is the first and largest 330(e) FQHC in Ocean County, New Jersey. OHI provides primary and preventative health and dental care to the uninsured, minimally insured, and privately insured, and operates a Mobile Medical Unit. This demanding service area is the second largest county in the state and has a population of 558,341. By October 31 of this year, OHI had served 21,304 patients and recorded 66,000 patient visits.
The uninsured population is increasing with two-thirds of the low-income population at or below 200 percent of poverty with the remaining one-third at or below 100 percent of poverty level. The result of this project will increase health care access for patients through the expansion of existing facilities, and by providing critical improvements to technology and clinical equipment.