It takes a village to deliver better health care.

That, at least, is the thinking behind Hackensack Meridian Health’s Meridian Health Village at Jackson in New Jersey.

Meridian Health Village is a “consumer-centric, convenient, one-stop shop” for health consumers, said Rebecca Wolff, Hackensack Meridian director of strategy, during a session at this year's Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development Connections conference in Chicago last week.

The village provides an array of health and wellness services at one location. A fitness center and physicians’ offices join a number of other outpatient facilities including a walk-in urgent care center, an ambulatory surgery center and a home for cancer care.

Planning began in 2005, when what then was Meridian Health — the central New Jersey system merged this summer with Hackensack University Health Network farther north — identified what it saw as an underserved need among a growing population of seniors and young families.

“Ultimately, we thought these people deserve better,” Wolff said of strategizing at Meridian at the time about the region’s health care landscape. “Clearly, there’s an opportunity for improvement. How do we make a difference?”

The 150,000-square-foot village opened in 2014–2015 — work on the project had been slowed by the financial crisis of 2008, Wolff said — with a focus on bringing private health care services and services that are traditionally limited to hospitals all under one roof in an easily accessible environment.

“We’re about making health care easier,” said Ryan Younger, vice president for marketing at Hackensack Meridian Health.

The sprawling, Y-shape building also houses imaging and laboratory services and wellness care and is a place for patients to go for screenings in a number of areas. Rehabilitation services are available, and the village includes a conference center, meeting rooms and a pharmacy.  

“When you hear about healthy, vibrant communities, that’s really a strategy that you’re going to need to shift into population health,” Younger said.

Read more about the project from our sister magazine, Hospital & Health Networks