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News Room: Press Releases

Virtua Center in Moorestown aims to create healthier economy, people

Construction on Virtua's $96 million Moorestown health and wellness center, which is expected to create about 200 new permanent jobs, is right on schedule for an early November 2012 opening. Beyond the obvious economic benefits of the center however (including the 300 temporary construction jobs it's already created), the real goal of the facility is to improve access to care and, as a result, reduce the cost of care, said Robert Hockel, vice president of ambulatory services and development.

The health care market is changing, Hockel told the Moorestown Business Association (MBA) earlier this week, and Virtua's center is intended to address those changes. Physician offices, outpatient medical services, a spa and a fitness center will all be housed under the same roof at the complex at the corner of Young Avenue and Centerton Road, across from Wegmans.

The fitness center is very similar to a regular fitness center in many ways, said Hockel. "However, if you have a medical condition, there's also the level of expertise there (to take care of that)."

Hockel said the facility will have a section for urgent care, for the type of non-emergency care you might go to the emergency room for when the doctor's office is closed.

"Think of it as an extension of the physician's office," he said. "You're going to get in and out rather quickly."

The health and wellness center will also offer "personal health navigators," who will follow up with patients with particular medical needs or who have been given instructions by their physician.

"We did some research," said Hockel. "It's amazing how many folks don't follow through on all the things their physician tells them."

MBA president Mark Morgan asked whether Virtua would have any sort of association with the YMCA, which is next door, and Hockel said Virtua did have a memorandum of understanding with the Y.

He explained how Virtua envisioned a partnership with the Y on certain wellness programs. For example, he said, the Y has a nationally recognized program for preventing diabetes, while Virtua has a program to manage diabetes. The Y also holds a weight-loss program for children.

"We have very similar missions (with the Y)," said Hockel. "We really think there's a great opportunity to work together with that program."

The location in Moorestown (though Hockel said about 15 percent of the facility actually lies in Mount Laurel) is the third health and wellness center Virtua has built. There are two others in Voorhees and Washington Township, Gloucester County. This model of care, which is still relatively new, is practical from both a business and a healthy living standpoint.

"In the future, we're really going to earn revenue by managing health," he said. "What it adds to Moorestown is a center that can really partner with the community to help the community stay healthy, to help the community manage wellness. It might sound hokey, but being able to manage your health provides the foundation for happiness and success."

Article from the Moorestown Patch (11/18/11)