Hackensack University Medical Center on Sept. 6 will open a pediatric emergency department at its Pascack Valley campus in Westwood, where HUMC currently operates a satellite emergency department.
HUMC is seeking state approval to open a 128-bed acute care hospital at the campus, the former site of Pascack Valley Hospital, and it hopes to open the new hospital next year.
Dr. Jeffrey Boscamp, chairman and physician-in-chief of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HUMC, said the pediatric emergency department will be staffed by doctors and nurses from the main campus in Hackensack who specialize in pediatric emergency medicine, just as the satellite ED in Westwood is staffed by Hackensack physicians and nurses rotating between the two hospitals.
“We will bring the great expertise (in pediatric emergency medicine) of the Hackensack main campus” to Westwood, Boscamp said. “This is something the pediatricians in the area have been asking me for. When they have a sick child up there, rather than make the trip to Hackensack, they will have the same level of expertise right at the hospital at Pascack Valley.”
The main Hackensack ED is busier than the satellite one at Westwood, and rotating doctors and nurses between locations exposes the entire staff to a wide range of cases, Boscamp said.
This year, the pediatric ED at Hackensack will see about 35,000 children, Boscamp said. “Pediatricians want kids to be seen by pediatric specific (emergency) doctors,” he said. “The adult ED docs do have the ability to see kids, and they do an excellent job with kids.” But he said pediatricians want their kids to have the benefit of the very specific experience that pediatric emergency doctors and nurses bring.
The ED at Pascack Valley has a separate area for children that’s adjacent to its counterpart for adults.
Dr. Joseph Feldman, chairman of the emergency medicine department at Hackensack UMC, predicted there would be great demand for pediatric emergency care at Pascack Valley, including the care of sports injuries. Feldman said the pediatricians in the Pascack Valley area “might have a greater comfort level sending sicker kids there, knowing there are staff there specially trained in pediatrics.”