As CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, Garrett runs New Jersey’s largest health network with 17 hospitals, 500 patient care locations, 35,000 team members and 6,500 physicians. Under Garrett’s leadership, HMH has made strides in medical education, behavioral health care, cancer care, and innovation and research. It opened the first private medical school in New Jersey in decades. The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine offers a curriculum that includes a three-year path to residency, a community immersion program and inter-disciplinary learning.
To streamline breakthroughs in care, the network opened the Center for Discovery and Innovation in May 2019, which focuses on cancer and infectious disease, multiple myeloma and regenerative medicine. The center has secured $170 million in NIH grants, funding from pharma, philanthropy and other sources.
In 2019, the network merged with Carrier Clinic, New Jersey’s largest behavioral health provider, to expand access to treatment, better coordinate care and develop therapies. The merger resulted in the opening of the first urgent care behavioral health center in New Jersey as well as a new state-of-the art destination addiction treatment center that opened in February 2021.
Behavioral will be a point of emphasis for the future, according to Garrett, especially coming out of the pandemic. One component will be a new addiction treatment center in northern New Jersey, with others to follow.
“[Another] piece is really trying to coordinate behavioral health services within the health care system to make sure there’s a good continuum of care. So if somebody is better treated in urgent care versus the emergency department or if somebody doesn’t need hospitalization because they can get treatment on an outpatient basis, we need to make sure that the system is well coordinated,” he told NJBIZ in January. “So there’s access, then there’s the coordination. And there’s a lot of research going on in the space and behavioral health in terms of diagnosing mental illness and treating mental illness through new therapeutics. So again, we will be doubling down our research efforts in the behavioral health space as well.”