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New Jersey DOT Grants Approval for Overlook Helipad

Greg Elliott

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 • 3:11pm

SUMMIT, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted approval for Overlook Medical Center in Summit to build and operate a helipad

Overlook has asserted that the helipad will advance the hospital’s stroke center.   Overlook Medical Center houses the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute (ANI), which serves as the hub for the New Jersey Stroke Network, a group of hospitals treating 40 percent of the state’s stroke patients.

“If this is the decision, we are going to make it work, and we will do our best to ensure the safety of our community," said Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson.  She added, "We will have more to say as we learn more."

Overlook has stated in the past that the helipad at Overlook Medical Center would be designed specifically for hospital-to-hospital transport of patients requiring advanced neurological care, and is intended to shorten transportation-related delays for stroke patients in need of urgent, highly specialized care where time is critical. Overlook expects the number of flights to range from five to nine per month.

Overlook has maintained that the helipad would not be used to receive trauma patients from the surrounding area -- a concern expressed by some Summit residents because Overlook Medical Center is not a trauma center and is incapable of becoming one. Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center serves that purpose, and would be the receiving facility for trauma-related transfers.

Overlook further states that, because the goal of the helipad is to expedite the treatment of stroke victims – a very specific group of patients – the number of flights into Overlook Medical Center would not result in significant economic gain for the hospital, which is a not-for-profit facility.
 
“Based on the NJ DOT decision, we clearly presented a solid case for the critical need of a helipad at our facility,” said Alan Lieber, president of Overlook Medical Center.  “I’ve often said that our hospital has assembled a team of the best and brightest neurosciences practitioners in the nation.  Today, I’m thankful that more patients in our region who are in critical, time-sensitive situations will be able to have faster access to our remarkable neurosciences team.” 

“Moving forward, we want to continue the conversations we’ve been having with local community leaders,” added Lieber.  “We always seek opportunities to work in partnership with our neighbors in the Summit community and with the surrounding area as a whole. We are committed to keeping the lines of communication open, as well as to fostering a positive working partnership with the local community not just today, but in the years ahead.”
 
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