Meridian Health Awarded a Multi-Year Medicare Demonstration Project

Redesigning palliative care to increase quality of care and satisfaction to patients and their families.

NEPTUNE, N.J., May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When patients are diagnosed with a serious illness, they, along with their families, face a host of decisions about the type of care and treatment to be administered. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMS) recently awarded Meridian Health, a leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, with a multi-year demonstration project to determine the positive effects of an expanded and fully integrated palliative care program for patients and families facing the challenges of serious and advanced chronic disease.

The Meridian CMS demonstration project will focus on patients, 65 years or older, with advanced cardiac disease, end stage renal disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, metastatic cancer, advanced forms of liver disease, dementia, stroke or any combination of these conditions.  The goal of the project is to improve the care provided to these chronically ill patients through coordinated pain and symptom management, patient education, specialist consultation and home care services.  An emphasis will be placed on clear communication between patients and their physicians in an effort to create collaborative care plans. These patient-centered care plans will ensure that the treatment patients receive matches personal values, goals and preferences.  

With a focus on providing services across the continuum of care, the Meridian CMS demonstration project will follow patients between hospital, nursing or rehabilitation facility and home, providing an extra layer of support when patients and their families need it the most. The expectation is that care directed by a patient's primary care physician, based on the patient's own informed choices and enhanced by an interdisciplinary palliative care team, will lead to better satisfaction and an improved quality of life for those with a chronic illness.

The 2010 census indicated that more than 207,000 residents over the age of 65 live in Ocean and Monmouth counties.  "As the largest health care provider in these counties, Meridian serves 43% of the region's Medicare population and feels it is our responsibility to provide this community with a comprehensive approach to the management of advanced illness," said Richard Scott, M.D., senior vice president of clinical effectiveness and medical affairs for Meridian Health. "Providing coordinated care to the most sick and vulnerable population will result in higher quality and satisfaction for both patients and their families."

"In this study we intend to demonstrate that shared decision making between providers and patients improves quality, safety and efficiency, and may even extend the life of the patient," said Dr. Scott. "We look forward to providing our physicians and their patients with the expanded resources available through this project in mid-2012."

Employing more than 12,000 team members, Meridian serves Monmouth and Ocean counties with 6 hospitals and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, and outpatient centers. 

About Meridian Health
Meridian Health ( is a leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, and outpatient centers. Meridian Health has consistently been rated among the top performing health systems in New Jersey for clinical quality, is one of the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For", and is the recipient of numerous state and national recognitions for patient care and nursing excellence, including the distinction of being the first health system in the country to receive Magnet designation for nursing.

Robert Cavanaugh
Manager, Public Affairs
Meridian Health
P: 732-751-3451
E: [email protected]



SOURCE Meridian Health