Cooper University Health Care recently announced two first-in-the-state initiatives: the launch of a Center for Advanced Practice and becoming a member of the Radiation Injury Treatment Network.
The Camden-based health care provider said it was the first in New Jersey – and one of only a few academic medical centers in the U.S. – to launch this type of program, which promotes and supports the role of advanced practice providers (APPs).
APPs are licensed health care professionals who work with physicians and the care team. They can include physician assistants/associates, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives. These professionals provide preventive, acute and chronic health care services to patients.
There are more than 500 APPs practicing across the Cooper Health system — performing nearly 230,000 patient visits already this year, according to Eileen Campbell, chief advanced practice provider, who leads the new center.
“Cooper’s Center for Advanced Practice will not only provide a coordinated platform to support our current APPs through professional development and other initiatives, but will also enhance recruitment and retention efforts, improve quality, and help standardize and expand access to care, which ultimately benefits patients,” Campbell added in a statement.
Dr. Eric Kupersmith, Cooper’s chief physician executive, said APPs work within nearly every department” in the health system.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy waived certain practice restrictions on advance practice nurses. Joshua Bengal, the director of government relations & staff counsel for the Medical Society of New Jersey, recently penned an opinion piece for NJBIZ opposing legislation that would permanently eliminate these restrictions. Click here to read his argument.
“Evidence has clearly shown that this growing work force helps organizations drive improvement in quality, safety, and efficiency, resulting in better outcomes and higher patient experience,” Kupersmith said. “By working collaboratively with physicians and other team members, patients are provided better access to care and continuity, demonstrating outstanding results.”
The day after the CAP announcement, Cooper Health said it became the first hospital in the Garden State to join the RITN, a national network of more than 75 medical centers with expertise in managing casualties from a large-scale radiological event.
Hospitals in the RITN specialize in treating patients with bone marrow failure and acute radiation syndrome, according to Cooper Health, which is the only Level 1 Trauma Center serving southern New Jersey.
“Bone marrow is the most sensitive part of our body to radiation,” Dr. Simon Sarkisian, an emergency medicine physician and medical director of disaster medicine at Cooper, explained in a statement. “The same types of side effects are possible with many cancer treatments, so Cooper’s expertise and experience in disaster medicine, trauma, and treating cancer makes us very well-suited to be part of this national group.”
As part of RITN, Cooper will participate in regional and national drills as part of readiness efforts.
In March, Cooper’s trauma team partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to share its expertise through a new clinical immersion training program.