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Advanced care for the Community

written by Anne Green

Located in the heart of Ocean County, Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center has been caring for the community for more than 40 years. In the past several years, numerous investments to facilities and services have brought new treatments, breakthrough technologies, and skilled expertise right here, and in many locations throughout the community.

The new Emergency Department, the “front door” to the medical center, sees more than 37,500 patients each year, 24 hours a day, in a setting that reinforces comfort, privacy, and compassion. Likewise, Urgent Care locations in Ship Bottom, a new convenient option for immediate, non-urgent health-care needs, as well as a convenient RediClinic option in Little Egg Harbor.

More renovations at Southern Ocean Medical Center include a new cancer care center, an investment of more than $20 million to ensure that state-of-the-art, comprehensive cancer services are available to patients in one location. A brand new spacious lobby and renovations to the clinical areas on the first floor add a contemporary welcoming look for patients and visitors alike. Expanding physician expertise is a priority; skilled physicians specializing in colorectal surgery, orthopedics, neurology, ENT, and primary care have joined the medical team and have expanded the scope of specialized expertise available close to home.

At the heart of Southern Ocean Medical Center is its dedicated and passionate team who touch the lives of countless patients and families. Under the new leadership of Hackensack Meridian Health Regional President Dean Q. Lin, FACHE, Southern Ocean Medical Center President Robert H. Adams, Jr., FACHE, and Chief Nurse Executive and Vice President of Nursing and Operations Myrna Capabianco, MSN, RN, these teams play a vital role in delivering compassionate care for its core patient services.

Great outcomes result from hard work, dedication, and support that team members and physicians demonstrate every day in providing unsurpassed care at the Southern Ocean Medical Center’s for Joint Health and Bariatrics, Women’s Health, the Martin Truex Jr. Pediatric Care Center, cardiovascular, emergency, and cancer services, advanced imaging services, diagnostics and treatment, laboratory services, pain management, telemedicine for stroke patients, maternity, sleep medicine, and rehabilitation, as well as convenient outpatient locations.

Cancer Center Expansion

One year ago, a 16,545-square-foot renovation on the medical center’s campus expanded Southern Ocean Medical Center’s multidisciplinary cancer program, where patients can schedule a singular appointment in which their entire cancer care team will be present. Key features of the expansion include 20 infusion stations for chemotherapy treatment, expanded nurse navigator services to guide patients through their care journey, and a multidisciplinary oncology suite. The final component of the project was the renovation of the radiation therapy suite and installation of a TrueBeam™ linear accelerator that opened in March 2017. Through fundraising efforts, the Boosters, Holly, Laurel and SOCH Auxiliaries of Southern Ocean Medical Center committed $2.5 million to fund this remarkable technology.

Investing in the Future

Local residents’ access to advanced care was enhanced when Southern Ocean Medical Center became part of Meridian Health in 2010. It increased even more when Meridian Health joined Hackensack University Health Networks in 2016 to form Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s most comprehensive health networks.

This powerful new alliance provides Southern Ocean Medical Center patients with new treatments, technology and expertise in their own backyard, with additional care options available quickly through the connection with Hackensack Meridian Health. One example: Southern Ocean Medical Center is now a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering – Hackensack Meridian Health Partnership, which means patients in the community will now have opportunities to benefit from world-class case cancer protocols.

Back in the Game

Southern Ocean Medical Center’s cutting-edge treatments and seamless patient care improves the quality of life in the community. Arianna Muti, a creative 10-year old from Manahawkin, was diagnosed in the Emergency Department with a brain bleed by pediatrician Moses Olorunnisola, M.D. Dr. Moses knew they needed to move fast. However, due to tremendous pressure on her brain, Arianna ended up having a stroke. Once stabilized by Dr. Moses and the care team, she was airlifted to Hackensack University Medical Center. There, Dr. Arno Fried, a pediatric neurosurgeon, removed the bleed. After the surgery, Arianna became paralyzed on her right side; she couldn’t talk, walk, or move. After months in outpatient rehabilitation, she is improving every day and getting back to the activities she loves, like swimming, playing basketball, and creating beautiful art projects.

“Dr. Moses took her under his wing and is the epitome of the kind of doctor any parent would want their son or daughter to have—the kind that treats my kid as if she is his own,” says

Arianna’s mother, Genevieve (Gina) Muti.

Arianna is healthy again thanks to the quick and compassionate care she received at Southern Ocean Medical Center.

Future growth includes a partnership with Seton Hall University to establish a new four-year school of medicine. The first class will be admitted in 2018.

- 13 Hospitals

- 2 Academic Medical Centers

- 9 Community Hospitals

- 2 Children’s Hospitals

- 6,000+ Physicians

- 28,000 Team Members

- More than 120 ambulatory

care centers

To learn more, visit

Southern Ocean Medical Center is committed to safety and quality in health care. As such, the medical center was named a Healthcare Heroes finalist in the category of “Hospital of the Year” by NJBIZ. These awards recognize individuals and organizations committed to improving the quality of health care.

In April 2017, Southern Ocean Medical Center received a letter “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Score initiative – the highest-possible safety score a health care facility can achieve. This Leapfrog Group, a coalition of large employers and other purchasers, sets goals for hospitals to cut down on what it sees as preventable errors. Hospitals that earn top marks nationally have achieved the highest safety standards in the country.

In May 2017, Southern Ocean Medical Center was also one of five Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals to achieve Magnet® status. This was the first time the nursing teams at the medical center achieved this distinguished honor as part of Hackensack Meridian Health. Magnet® status is the highest honor of nursing excellence bestowed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The designation honors nursing teams of hospitals that meet the nation’s highest standards. It is considered the “Gold Standard” for nursing practice, quality, and safety in patient care.

In addition to its many awards and accreditations, Southern Ocean Medical Center is a designated Primary Stroke Center and is certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and is the recipient of the Gold Seal Joint Commission the recipient of The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers.

Team members at Southern Ocean Medical Center are dedicated to creating a culture that ensures zero patient harm. Southern Ocean Medical Center led the way within the Hackensack Meridian Health network by training 90 percent of all team members within four months on the key principles of safety, quality, empathy, and respect. These principles were translated into action with several initiatives that had a tremendous impact on communication, patient safety, and outcomes. Collective efforts have led to improvements in patient satisfaction scores, a 145 percent increase in reporting from 2016 to 2017. Team efforts demonstrate a commitment to shared responsibility in delivering the right care to the right patient at the right time and place.

Fast Facts: Southern Ocean Medical Center

Admissions: 8,068

Physicians: 368

Team Members: 1,050

Volunteers: 494

Births: 388

Chronological Timeline


Southern Ocean County Hospital opened in 1972 with 54 beds and a medical staff of 17 physicians to care for the injured and ill.


The $3.5 million James Noble Pavilion was constructed, adding a second floor with another

40 beds.


The $4 million Robert S. Irvin, MD Surgical Suite was completed. The new Oncology suite gave residents the option to receive chemotherapy treatments close to home.


Another major construction project added the four-story patient tower, housing an intermediate care unit and two medical/surgical units.


The Southern Ocean Center for Health opened in Forked River, offering outpatient testing services and physician specialty practices.


A second Southern Ocean Center for Health opened in Little Egg Harbor.


The three-story Medical Arts Pavilion provided space for outpatient services such as renal dialysis, the Speech and Hearing Center, and an ambulatory surgical center.


Southern Ocean County Hospital (SOCH) and a team of expert radiation oncologists worked together to open a high-tech radiation oncology program.


The hospital’s Western Expansion, also known as the James J. Mancini Pavilion, nearly doubled the size of the existing hospital facility. The 84,000 sq. ft. addition included a 20-bed Transitional Care Unit and a 12-bed state-of-the­-art Intensive Care Unit.


The Ocean Club Fitness Center opened, also housing physical therapy and the Family Care Center.


SOCH becomes a member of the Meridian Health network of hospital and services, enhancing the level of care and service to the community.


The hospital’s new name, Southern Ocean Medical Center, reflects its growth and future direction.


Emergency Department expansion offers advanced 24/7 level of critical care in a comfortable and healing environment.


Southern Ocean Medical Center becomes a member of the Hackensack Meridian Health, one of New Jersey’s most comprehensive health networks.


$16 million Cancer Center expansion and renovation project at Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center provides HOPE for patients close to home with a new infusion center, multidisciplinary suite, and radiation therapy suite.

To learn more about Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center, visit

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