As first reported yesterday, CHEMED Health Center celebrated the groundbreaking of its site that is underway in South Lakewood. In a tent on the new South Site location where construction has already begun, Dr. Dovid Friedman, CEO of CHEMED addressed the excited crowd and guest of honor Congressman Christopher Smith. “A community health center presents the opportunity to make sure everyone, including the underinsured and uninsured receive quality care. Having the partnerships we have to better the community’s health is something we should celebrate together.” says Dr. Friedman. The South Site address is 1171 River Avenue.
Anyone driving down Route 9 on a typical day knows the need for a closer site to serve the surrounding community, due to traffic in the area. CHEMED wants to bring healthcare services directly to those who need them, making it closer and more convenient for residents of the South Side of Lakewood. Dr. Friedman credited all the various organizations who have partnered together to bring healthcare services to the Lakewood community. “We are not about servicing the community by ourselves. We’re about trying to figure out together what the needs of the community are and how to make those needs happen. This is a groundbreaking for all the organizations who are constantly looking around to see how we can better service the healthcare needs of the community.” The new site is being built in partnership with Monmouth Medical Center/RWJ Barnabas Health.
Mayor Ray Coles and Senator Singer came forward to speak and receive awards for the support they have given CHEMED and the community at large. “The concern we have on healthcare is people using it early on before they end up in the emergency room. Hopefully this new site will enable a better quality of life to those people who would otherwise not have taken care of their healthcare needs. It should be the beginning of many great things for you.” Senator Singer wished the CHEMED staff.
Mayor Ray Coles said “Lakewood has so many things to be proud of, and CHEMED is right at the top of them. Every time I was at CHEMED, especially during the pandemic, I was impressed with how much they were helping the community andhow they get things done. I can’t thank you enough for the undertaking you’ve taken on here.”
Next, the guest of honor, Congressman Smith was called up. Congressman Smith has believed in CHEMED from the beginning. He applauded the CHEMED team: “What a tremendous job [they have done] of working together to make people healthier! Whatever it was, vaccines, testing, you name it, CHEMED made sure to get it done. The need and the expertise that CHEMED brings to the table speaks for itself and enabled us to break through the bureaucratic tape and get the funding and land for the new site. What an honor it is to be with you today.”
Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health has been a true partner and support in bringing the South Site to fruition. CHEMED CEO, Dr. Friedman reiterated to the crowd how much he and the entire CHEMED team look toward the future and look forward to partnering with Monmouth Medical Center/RWJ Barnabas Health for more important projects to come. Eric Carney, President and CEO of Monmouth Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus, was singled out next. He, together with his hospital team stepped up to fund the building and work together in building this site and the vision for the community’s health needs.
“This is truly a special day. What makes it special is what is in this room today. It takes a true village, great leadership and vision to make this happen. We are just as excited to be here today… CHEMED has made preventative and healthcare in general accessible to the community. At a time of great expansion in the town, the need for more accessible services is no greater than now.” Said Carney.
The board members of CHEMED Health Center came forward next to present a plaque to Eric Carney, thanking him, and the Monmouth Medical Center team for their partnership and looking towards a bright future of healthcare in Lakewood together.
The support of CHEMED’s board has enabled CHEMED to accomplish its impressive undertakings. Ben Heineman, board chair, addressed those present and thanked all the participants for joining in the momentous occasion.
Also in attendance were Ocean County Commissioners Vicariand Haines, joined by the County Sheriff. Dr. Friedman was thankful to the commissioners for coming and being wonderful friends of CHEMED. They were the first to help with the dental department. More recently they were behind funding of a mobile unit. Commissioner Vicari passionately spoke about CHEMED and the community: “Lakewood will rise to the occasion. When there is a need, they will be there. We will take care of the people. From the youngest in Pediatrics to the oldest in Geriatrics. We’re only going to look at the need, and nothing else. Although patients who come may never thank you, you know in your heart of hearts that you are doing the right thing, that Lakewood is doing the right thing. You make Ocean County, Lakewood, and the State of New Jersey, a better place.” Commissioner Haines commented that while she no longer lives in Lakewood her family lived here for generations.
There were several other important organizations present at the event including the Ocean County Health Department, Lev Rochel Bikur Cholim, Chai Lifeline, and Hatzolah of Central Jersey. Dr. Friedman made note of the importance of having dedicated partnerships in order to successfully bring health care to a community.
At the closing of the ceremony, the designated shovel holders picked up their shovels and hard hats for the final groundbreaking picture. The shovel bearers included: Dr. Dovid Friedman, CEO, CHEMED Health Center; Congressman Christopher Smith; Mr. Eric Carney, President and CEO of Monmouth Medical Center; Senator Robert Singer; Mayor Ray Coles, Lakewood; Mr. Bill Cook, VP Major Projects Monmouth Medical Center, Commissioner Haines, Ocean County; Commissioner Vicari, Ocean County; Ben Heinemann, Chairman of the Board, CHEMED; Dan Regenye, Ocean County Health Department, Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer; Sruli Fried, Director, Chai Lifeline, NJ/PA; Yoel Tesser and Yitzchok Shmiel Meyer, Hatzolah Captains; Dr. Howard Lebowitz, Chief Medical Officer, Acute Care Health Systems/LTACH; Yehuda Kaszirer, Administrator, Lev Rochel Bikur Cholim, Menachem Berkowitz, COO CHEMED Health Center. Construction on the South Site is estimated to be completed at the end of 2022.