By Mayor J. Christian Bollwage
Mayor, City of Elizabeth
NJLM Past President
& Gary S. Horan, President
and chief Executive Officer,
Due to economic to social conditions, many cities face challenges connecting their citizens with needed medical treatments. In order to address these concerns, health care institutions must work closely with the public sector. By promoting outreach efforts and wellness programs throughout neighborhoods, government leaders can encourage preventative screenings and enable residents to lead healthier lives.
Improving the health of our citizens also requires attention to the training of emergency responders. The city’s Emergency Medical Services are often the initial care providers on scene. Therefore, Trinitas Regional Medical Center has partnered with the City of Elizabeth to create an instruction center. It provides a place where these personnel can hone their skills and learn about advances in care.
The $5.3 million Trinitas Center of Regional Education (CORE) is a state-of-the-art building that provides assembly space for community events, classrooms for health education, and a location for paramedic and emergency medical technician (EMT) training. Funded entirely by individual, corporate and foundation donations, the site will also be home to the offices of the Trinitas Health Foundation, the Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation, Medical Center's Mobile Intensive Care Unit and ambulance services.
Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage (center) cuts the ribbon dedicating the $5.3 million Center of Regional Education (CORE) building at Trinitas Regional Medical Center, as (left to right), Mortimer Gershman, Trustee, Trinitas Health & Regional Medical Center, and Chairman, Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation; Brad Harrington, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; David A. Fletcher, President, Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation; Sister Maureen Shaughnessy, Chairperson, Trinitas Health & Regional Medical Center; William Best, Senior Vice President, PNC Bank; Gary S. Horan, FACHE, President & Chief Executive Officer of Trinitas Regional Medical Center; Victor M. Richel, Vice Chairman, Trinitas Health & Regional Medical Center and Trustee, Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation; Marsha Atkind, Executive Director, Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey; Nadine Brechner, Chief Development Officer, Trinitas Regional Medical Center; Thomas Vincz, Director, Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Thomas Kachelriess, Treasurer, Trinitas Health & Regional Medical Center and Trustee, Trinitas Health Foundation look on.
Trinitas Regional Medical Center is one of the largest employers in Union County. In addition to increasing knowledge and enhancing the abilities of municipal and medical field employees, CORE services are also available to members of the community. Professionals, who may be entering the workforce for the first time or looking to increase their marketability, are also encouraged to use the CORE to reinforce training and build their knowledge. Trinitas CORE center also provides programs that explore chronic health issues, safety and disease prevention for individuals and corporations throughout the region.
The education and training offered through the CORE are not the only joint initiatives of the city and Trinitas. Comprehensive services are also offered for the treatment of diabetes, renal disease and asthma. The City of Elizabeth’s Health and Human Services Department works in conjunction with Trinitas Regional Medical Center on the Workman’s Compensation Program, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) screenings and care.
We also collaborate on the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) initiative. The municipality refers residents to the WIC program and the hospital operates baby clinics for participants. In conjunction with the Child Health Conferences, children from two months to seven years receive physician examinations, growth measurements and nutritional services free of charge. These services help to keep the city’s youngest residents healthy and strong.
With the third largest Nursing School in the country, Trinitas is also increasing the number of trained nurses in Elizabeth. The school has received two Centers of Excellence designations from the National League of Nursing. It continues to thrive—131 graduates earned diplomas in 2012.
Having access to the latest technology and life-saving equipment is vital. Recognizing the difference this can make, the Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to Trinitas that will enable 350 Infant
CPR Anytime kits to be distributed to parents of newborns in Elizabeth.
From referrals and updates to ongoing follow-up actions, communication is key. Local government departments coordinate preventative information and public health efforts with Trinitas. We’ve worked together to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, including during the recent flu epidemic. This past season brought aggressive strains of the virus, which impacted residents of all ages. Free flu vaccinations, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, were available to residents at City Hall. The initiative made it possible for many residents to protect themselves from developing a severe case of the virus.
Representatives from the city and Trinitas sit on the boards of the
respective organization’s committees. Executives of the two organizations meet often to discuss activities, new ventures and operations. Maintaining true community partnerships requires sharing progress, identifying areas of potential concern and exploring visions for the future.
In the face of a bad economy and in light of possible sequestration cuts, which may reduce or eliminate some health related funding, many people are short of money. Non-urgent health and wellness care is often skipped when families are living paycheck to paycheck.
Nurses celebrate their graduation from the Trinitas School of Nursing, Class of January 2013.
The largest class in the school’s 124-year history, 96 students, graduated during ceremonies held at Union County College. The College and Trinitas jointly operate the program, one of the largest
nursing schools in the United States.
Minor symptoms are often ignored, because of the potential costs associated with going to the doctor. Unfortunately, these situations can escalate or be indicators of more serious conditions. In order to catch disease early, low income residents rely on programs provided by local governments and health care institutions.
Placing the needs of its residents first, the City of Elizabeth continues to work with Trinitas Regional Medical Center to improve access to healthcare. Municipalities and hospitals are both service providers and therefore maintaining positive relationships increases their ability to support the needs of the community. Working alone would not produce nearly the benefits to the public that working together can provide.
Originally published in New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 90, Number 5, May 2013