Have you been to a hospital in the Garden State lately?

Virtua Hospital, Berlin (Virtua)

Many of them have been transformed, and seem more like hotels or spas, rather than medical facilities filled with sick people.

Kerry McKean Kelly, the Vice President of Communications for the New Jersey Hospital Association, says, "Those old stereotypes do not hold true any longer in today's hospitals, for several reasons. New Jersey hospitals are playing catch-up, they are older than the national average. In New Jersey, the average hospital structure is 12 years and nationwide the average is about 10 years."

Keeping Up with Consumer Demand

She says, "By updating their facilities, they can run more efficiently in terms of power usage and some of the other costs that are associated with healthcare. Beyond that, there is an element of keeping up with consumer demand. Today's healthcare consumers are very discriminating consumers, they want the latest amenities and so there is a competitive component at play here."

McKean Kelly points out, "New Jersey is probably is probably in one of the most competitive marketplaces in the nation sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia, and the hospitals in the Garden State need to remind folks that the care they offer is top notch…In years past, some folks might have thought of them as second-class providers, they are not, they are world-class providers in New Jersey…In the past few years, if you look at the U.S. News and World report rankings of the best hospitals in the region, almost half of them are located in New Jersey."

She adds, "After many years where we had no new hospitals in New Jersey, there's been a mini-boom in construction. We've had Capital Health build a new hospital in Hopewell, Princeton Healthcare System opened a new hospital on Route 1 in Plainsboro, and further down in South Jersey Virtua Health has opened a new facility in Voorhees. Beyond that, a lot of the existing hospitals have done facelifts and additions and upgrades that have really modernized some of the older facilities all across the state."

She also stresses, "The number one thing is addressing the health issue and making sure the patient has a good outcome. But beyond that there are a lot of other issues that go into a successful hospital stay, and part of that is just the overall environment, the atmosphere, the food and also how your family feels in that environment - hospitals are catering to everyone and making sure it works out well for everyone."