An announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approving an $88.2 million loan to Deborah Heart and Lung Center — New Jersey’s only specialty heart, lung and vascular hospital — will provide the Hospital the final piece of funding needed for a planned $100 million capital improvement project.
The USDA loan is funded through its Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program, and will be used to upgrade Deborah’s double-occupancy in-patient rooms to private suites, pay for the construction of a new in-patient tower of individual patient rooms, and provide other improvements. Although the project was in the works prior to COVID-19, the pandemic has shown the importance of the conversion to private rooms for patient care and visitor safety.
“We are delighted to receive word of the loan approval,” said Joseph Chirichella, President and CEO at Deborah Heart and Lung Center. “We had this project on the drawing board before the pandemic, and even with the enormous difficulties and stresses placed on healthcare during the past year, our team forged ahead with our planning for the future.”
He added: “As a rural hospital located in Burlington County, New Jersey, we are critical to the health of our community, the residents of which may not otherwise have access to the high-tech heart, lung and vascular services we offer. This construction will ensure this access, and offers a vibrant opportunity for the area.”
“USDA Rural Development is extremely proud to be a part of this exciting project. Although our Community Facilities Program can help provide financial support to many different essential community projects, those projects that improve the health and safety of our residents would certainly be among the most important. Having access to high quality medical service is critical to the future of our rural New Jersey communities,“ stated Acting State Director Brandon Pfeilmeier.
According to the USDA announcement, nearly 800,000 rural residents fall within Deborah’s service area.
The building project, dubbed “DEBORAH®100”, is expected to break ground within the next few months, with construction tentatively scheduled for completion near the end of 2022, to coincide with Deborah’s 100th anniversary. The new three-floor addition will be constructed on top of existing hospital space and will include two floors with 18 private, critical care rooms on each floor, and a third floor dedicated to mechanical space. This project will give the Hospital a total of 95 beds.
After the new construction is completed, the remaining double occupancy rooms in the hospital will be converted to private rooms. Additional plans include upgrades to the hospital’s cardiac catheterization labs, a new pharmacy clean-room, and new technology and construction in the electrophysiology labs.
The USDA loan will supplement the Deborah Hospital Foundation’s ongoing fundraising efforts for the campaign, which to date total approximately $16 million.
“This is an exciting project and marks another milestone in Deborah’s storied 100-year history,” added Chirichella.
For more information about the project visit Deborah100.org