Conversion Complete: AtlantiCare’s Manahawkin Health Park Opens Its Doors

Jul 05, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy AtlantiCare's Manahawkin Health Park, located at 517 Route 72 West, opened its doors to the public on June 29.

When Pathmark on Route 72 in Manahawkin closed its doors and powered down the lights for the last time several years ago, most wouldn’t have guessed a healthcare organization would do anything with it. But Jatin Motiwal had his eyes on the building and was confident AtlantiCare could do wonders with the vacant space in a prime location.

“It’s hard right now to imagine, looking at this facility, that this used to be an abandoned grocery store when we found it 3½ years ago,” the AtlantiCare Physician Group and Regional Network vice president said in his opening remarks during the Manahawkin Health Park grand opening ceremony on June 28. “We joke that we’ve become experts in converting Pizza Huts into urgent care centers. But a grocery store? This is a first for us.”

AtlantiCare, a member of the Geisinger Health System, officially opened its newest facility, located at 517 Route 72 West, to the public on June 29. Its hours of operation will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Tuesday and Thursday hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“This project represents AtlantiCare’s fourth health park, following Egg Harbor Township, Cape May and Hammonton. Each have the same goal – making accessing care easier for the community,”said AtlantiCare System Board Chairman Michael Charlton. “When AtlantiCare makes a commitment to a community, it does so with an eye toward everything that contributes to a community’s wellness. What we are promising is a new healthcare experience for the Manahawkin community. For AtlantiCare, though this building is new, what it will offer here is based on AtlantiCare’s long-standing vision of building healthy communities.”

A 60,000-square-foot facility, the new building not only features state-of-the-art medical operations and general wellness amenities, it also offers a breathtaking and comfortable environment with more than 90 pieces of artwork from 41 artists of various media, creating “a peaceful, healing environment for patients, visitors and staff.”

“The fact that we had a vision of bringing something like this to this community, and we’ve worked all these years to make it happen, to see it come to fruition is a proud moment for us,” said AtlantiCare President and CEO Lori Herndon. “We have a great deal of respect for the local hospital, but we want to give another option and a choice to this community. It’s not a typical healthcare facility, but the test will be what the community says about it.”

That test begins immediately upon entering the building, when a patient checks in at the registration center, which uses a biometric authentication system to identify the correct individual coming in for care. And the “welcome” area comes with a twist – no phones ringing to interrupt the check-in staff, making their priority the person who arrived. All incoming calls are fielded elsewhere within the building by a different set of staff members.

From there, the building features many perks that could prove useful to clients of all kinds, from the full-service retail pharmacy, arriving in August, that will be available to anyone and the highly capable Cardiology and Cardiac Diagnostics suite, to the medical-specialist options available and clinical laboratory available to anybody.

Additionally, the “Primary Care Plus” unit features in-room lab testing, consultations and checkout, along with a fully integrated technological system connected to all AtlantiCare facilities for easy review of previous medical records and a care management staff that makes sure all records are utilized and delivered properly.

The building also has a café with light refreshments and a coffee and espresso bar. Throw in a child-friendly play area with several touchscreen game consoles available and the community center, which will provide nonprofit and local community groups space to gather for meetings and events, and it’s easy to see how AtlantiCare’s newest facility may be a boon for the area. In fact, Motiwal is expecting it to be such.

“The moment you enter, it wows you, and we’ve spared no detail,” he said. “We want people to walk in and feel good about being here. This is a unique building. We have never created an ambulatory space that is this integrated as a one-stop shop for medical services. This is a new benchmark for us and the rest of our competitors.”

In October, Rothman Institute Orthopaedics is expected to open its new facility within the building, and Atlantic Medical Imaging is expected to move in during the first quarter of next year.

On July 2, the building AtlantiCare opened last October across the lot – where the former Pizza Hut once stood – was reopened as its new urgent care center, scheduled to be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week, including holidays.

“We’ve long cared for those who live in, work in and visit Manahawkin and other Ocean County communities. We began offering services in Manahawkin in 2012,” Herndon said during her grand-opening-ceremony remarks. “Now we are making it even more convenient for people in this region to get the primary, specialty, urgent and other care and services they need and deserve. I hope you will tell your neighbors and friends about us. And I look forward to hearing from you about how we can continue to work together to make healthcare better.”

Stafford Township Mayor John Spodofora, speaking of the new building, said “the results are breathtaking.”

“It’s hard for me to get past it that this used to be Pathmark. I keep looking around, wondering where the meat department is,” he joked before helping make the cut during the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. “We are very proud to have AtlantiCare in our community. The services AtlantiCare will be offering here – not just to residents of Stafford but those throughout the area – are very needed. We welcome you, and, together, we hope that we can make a big difference for the future of this entire area.”

For more information about the Manahawkin Health Park, visit online at manahawkinhealthpark.org, or call 609-597-3010.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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