JCC MetroWest in West Orange and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston have announced that they are joining together to promote health awareness.
The new partnership is expected to bring enhanced health, rehabilitation, and wellness services to the community and members of the JCC.
Saint Barnabas staff will provide health education classes and lectures, information about local health services, and responses to health questions and will offer such therapeutic services as physical therapy.
The new relationship, formed last month, will formally kick off with a health fair to be held at the JCC on Sunday, June 12, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
“Thousands of people use our facility to keep themselves in good shape and good health,” said JCC CEO Alan Feldman. “This partnership will give us the opportunity to bring these services to our population in a much more comprehensive way.”
The hospital views the partnership as an opportunity for advancing public relations and education, but also to provide some tangible benefits, both immediately and down the road.
“We’re right next door, and this is a unique opportunity to provide health education and get our medical experts to the JCC to really educate people,” said Brian George, director of specialty surgical programs and director of the partnership project for the hospital.
In the short term, George suggested, the hospital can provide an outpatient nutritionist to the JCC’s weight-loss program. “There are synergies that provide support for programs the JCC already has,” he explained. “We look forward to an integration that provides services to JCC members that can enhance the experience they already have there.”
The JCC and the hospital are putting together a program that would enable a physical therapist to provide services at the JCC.
Feldman pointed out that offering such services in “a communal setting of wellness rather than in a setting of pathology” offers intrinsic benefits. “The mental health aspect is so critical,” he said. “Just think how different it is walking into a hospital versus a communal setting.”
‘Serving the community’
Over the long term, George said he hopes there can be more ambitious projects — like cardiac rehabilitation to help a patient return to the gym.
“Traditionally, after a hospital-based rehabilitation program, a patient may be wary of returning to the gym,” he said. “We would provide a program with the fitness center that would make the patient feel more comfortable because the staff would be trained, and there would be someone from the hospital on the staff to help make the transition.”
So far the only required change to the JCC facility is creating office space for Saint Barnabas staff. The fitness equipment already in place will be used for all therapy that takes place there.
All Saint Barnabas services at the JCC will be available to both members and nonmembers. Both partners expect to reap benefits — the JCC hopes the partnership will bring new participants who will eventually make the JCC their home and become members, according to Feldman.
“Our commitment is to serving the community,” he said.
Saint Barnabas will be able to raise its profile among the JCC membership.
The model is not a new one. Hospitals and community agencies have teamed up around the country to pool services, talents, and clients. But it is a first for both Saint Barnabas and JCC MetroWest, which now have an exclusive arrangement.