New Jersey access to healthcare touted, disparities remain

New Jersey access to healthcare touted, disparities remain

2023-11-17T14:35:22-05:00November 17th, 2023|Economy, Healthcare, North & Central Jersey, South Jersey|

Writer: Esteban Pages

3 min read November 2023 — New Jersey’s healthcare ecosystem has developed into a leader in cancer treatment while continuing to expand access to care through key partnerships.

According to the American Lung Association’s State of Lung Cancer 2023 report, New Jersey ranked No. 4 for lung cancer surgery treatment. By analyzing key metrics such as new cases, survival rates, early diagnosis, surgical treatments, lack of treatment and screening rates, the report found that the Garden State is a leader in providing surgery as a first course of treatment.

“New Jersey does very well when it comes to patients diagnosed with lung cancer receiving surgery. What that tells us is a couple of things. One, we know that when surgery is a first option, the prognosis for the patient is drastically improved. Some of the reasons that we believe may indicate why that happens is access to healthcare. New Jersey has healthcare systems located throughout the state. It’s somewhat compact, it’s not going to be three hours for most anyone in the state to go to a high-quality cancer center,” Michael Seilback, national assistant vice president, state public policy at the American Lung Association to Invest:

Important areas of opportunity remain, however, primarily addressing healthcare access disparities. “Black individuals in New Jersey are 31% more likely not to receive lung cancer treatment at all and are 30% less likely to receive surgery as their first course of treatment,” Seilback added.

To continue capitalizing on the progress, Seilback underscored the importance of raising the number lung cancer screenings for eligible individuals. The test can detect lung cancer at its earliest stages when there are many more options for treatment. With increased lung cancer screening rates, the leading cause of death among cancers could evolve into a chronic condition.

Whether cancer screenings or acute care, the state’s focus has been on expanding overall access. Last week, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network Hackensack Meridian Health and leading national virtual and in-office primary care organization One Medical joined forces to ensure residents and employers make the most of the synergy between Amazon-owned One Medical’s care model and Hackensack Meridian Health’s integrated network of providers, hospitals and facilities. Through One Medical’s membership model, employers will be able to sponsor memberships on behalf of their employees and dependents. So far, 8,500 employers have done so throughout the country. According to a press release, the two organizations will open offices and facilities in multiple locations over the next several years, with the first office expected to open by the end of 2024.

This partnership and other ongoing initiatives are sure to contribute to an already thriving healthcare ecosystem. According to Choose New Jersey, the Garden State is home to more than 22,645 healthcare establishments. This robust network of industry players contributes $37 billion per year to the state’s economy and employs close to 488,000 professionals. It also spearheads innovative healthcare delivery with maternal and child health services advances, developing the latest surgical technology and offering cutting-edge cancer research and treatment. 

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