University prepares for local hospital relocation

May 18, 2012, 10 a.m.

Princeton University students and employees may continue to access emergency and other medical services when the local hospital opens its new facility on May 22. The University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP) will move to a state-of-the-art building located near campus on Route 1 in Plainsboro, N.J.

University and hospital officials have worked closely to ensure continuity of services when UMCPP opens, particularly for students who may be referred there for emergency medical care. The hospital, which is not affiliated with Princeton University, will relocate a few miles from its current location on Witherspoon Street in Princeton.

The University's TigerTransit will add a shuttle stop at the new hospital on the Forrestal/PPPL route starting June 9, and an updated schedule will be available on the Transportation and Parking Services website at the end of this month. The University also is among the community partners subsidizing a new New Jersey Transit bus line that provides direct service to UMCPP from downtown Princeton.

"The new facility utilizes many innovative health care technologies and design principles, all focusing on an enhanced patient experience. I'm confident the new hospital will be an excellent resource for our students and the greater community," University Health Services Executive Director John Kolligian said. "The planning for the move has been quite extensive and the hospital expects there will be no gap in emergency services."

"There have been ongoing discussions between the hospital and the University to work to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible, and that our collaborative relationship with UMCPP will continue in the new location," Kolligian added.

Hospital Bus

The University is among the community partners subsidizing a new New Jersey Transit bus line from downtown Princeton to the hospital site in Plainsboro. Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee (far right) attended a ribbon cutting for the bus line on May 14 with local and state officials, including (from left to right) Assemblywoman Donna Simon, Lt. Gov. Kimberly Guadagno, state Labor Commissioner Harold Wirths, state Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary Dowd, state Transportation Commissioner James Simpson, state Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez and U.S. Rep. Rush Holt. (Photo by Denise Applewhite)

University Health Services (UHS) is the primary health care provider for Princeton students. Students utilize the hospital for medical emergencies, as well as for certain specialty consultations and treatment.

As is the current practice, students will be taken to the hospital for emergencies by local ambulance services. The recent contribution of University-owned land at the corner of Harrison Street and Route 1 has permitted the addition of a dedicated left-turn lane that will help provide ambulances with quick access to the hospital.

For certain medical needs that are not emergencies, the University's Department of Public Safety will continue to transport students to the hospital and will schedule transports when a Public Safety vehicle is available to travel off campus.

After students are treated and released from the hospital's emergency department, they may contact Public Safety to arrange transportation back to McCosh Health Center on campus when a vehicle is available. Alternatively, if Public Safety vehicles are not immediately available because of other pressing calls on campus, students may take the TigerTransit shuttle or New Jersey Transit bus on weekdays, as well as contact local taxis or independent medical transport services. Students will be responsible for costs that may be associated with alternative transportation, though they may contact UHS if they do not have financial resources to cover such costs. Students also may arrange for friends or family to pick them up from the hospital.

Following discharge from the hospital, UHS will continue to require that students return to McCosh Health Center to ensure they receive follow-up medical care as needed and to confirm treatment plans.

Employees in need of emergency services will continue to be transported from campus to appropriate area hospitals via local ambulance. Upon discharge, most employees will arrange for friends or family to drive them home, though they also may take the TigerTransit shuttle or New Jersey Transit bus on weekdays to get back to Princeton.

Students and employees should consult their individual insurance plans for information about coverage of ambulance and hospital services. The University's Student Health Plan covers ambulance services at 80 percent of eligible expenses with no deductible.

In addition, the new hospital will continue to offer sexual assault related examinations. The University's Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources, and Education (SHARE) office has worked with UMCPP and community-based partners in Mercer and Middlesex counties to confirm continuity of this service.

After the hospital opens, University Health Services, Public Safety, and Transportation and Parking Services will continue to evaluate medical and transportation procedures and the best ways to support students and employees in need of hospital services.