Press Release

For Immediate Release
Aug 5, 2013
Contact : Maureen Gillespie, Public Relations Manager  
(732) 751-4166

Meridian Health is the first and only New Jersey health care system recognized as a center of excellence in treating patients with chest pain

Meridian Health earns accreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care for providing the best care available for patients who present with symptoms of a heart attack  

Neptune, NJ - Meridian Health, a leading New Jersey health care system, has recently earned the highest designated Chest Pain Center Accreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), a global not-for-profit organization committed to leading the fight to eliminate heart disease as the number one cause of death worldwide.

As the only health care system in New Jersey to receive this recognition, Meridian distinguishes itself as providing the best care available for patients who present with symptoms of a heart attack.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. Warning signs may include shortness of breath, sweating for no apparent cause, nausea, extreme fatigue, or most commonly tightness or pressure in the chest that may spread to the shoulders, neck and arms.

David S. Zukoff, M.D., chief of Cardiology at Riverview Medical Center and medical director of heart attack care for Meridian CardioVascular Network comments “85% of heart muscle damage occurs in the first two hours of a heart attack, but irreversible damage starts within minutes. Accredited Chest Pain Centers quickly identify and treat patients suffering from a heart attack, and studies prove that people are one third more likely to survive a heart attack if treated at a certified Chest Pain Center.”

According to Steven G. Littleson, FACHE, president of Jersey Shore and executive sponsor of Meridian CardioVascular Network, “this recognition from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care confirms that the level of care provided by each of Meridian’s hospital EMS, emergency medicine team, cardiac catheterization lab, observation unit, cardiac rehab and discharge unit is the best care available for patients suffering from chest pain. Simply put, if someone in our community suspects they might be experiencing a heart attack, they will receive the best quality care at a Meridian Health hospital.”

“Sometimes people who think they might be having a heart attack wait to see if their symptoms will subside, and that’s a mistake,” says Stephanie M. Reynolds, D.O., chairman and medical director of Emergency Medicine at Riverview Medical Center. “The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, not realizing that the earlier they seek treatment, the less damage to the heart.”

After rigorous evaluations and on-site surveys at Meridian Health’s five adult care hospitals, including Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin and Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, Meridian has earned Cycle IV accreditation, the highest available level of accreditation from SCPC.

To qualify for Cycle IV accreditation, each Meridian hospital successfully met the SCPC’s criteria, including:

•    Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
•    Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
•    Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital

Meridian CardioVascular Network offers the most complete, coordinated care from prevention and wellness programs to the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease to rehabilitation and recovery. Jersey Shore, the system’s largest hospital and home of the state’s highest volume catheterization lab, is a regional cardiac surgery center providing surgical back-up for Meridian as well as non-Meridian hospitals in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Ocean Medical Center is one of the state’s largest providers of emergency coronary angioplasty for patients suffering from heart attacks. Interventional cardiologists at Southern Ocean Medical Center also have the benefit of direct access to Jersey Shore through Meridian’s digital imaging system, allowing instantaneous imaging of catheterization films to provide prompt and appropriate care for patients. The rare cases where emergent transfer is necessary have demonstrated excellent and seamless results. Additionally, Riverview Medical Center is a key provider of emergency and elective angioplasties, and Bayshore Community Hospital offers a full service catheterization lab.
 “Meridian’s chest pain accreditation affirms that our cardiovascular program provides the most dynamic, effective care for patients who present with symptoms of a heart attack. Meridian’s seamless, coordinated approach to cardiovascular care ensures the best outcomes for our patients,” comments Richard Neibart, M.D., medical director of Meridian CardioVascular Network and chief of Cardiac Surgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

About the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care:

The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) is an international not-for-profit organization whose mission is to transform cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty Society, SCPC provides the support needed for hospital systems to effectively bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to successfully navigate the changing face of healthcare. For more information on SCPC, accreditation and certification opportunities, visit, or call toll free 1-877-271-4176.

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” for four years in a row, and is the recipient of numerous state and national recognitions for patient care and nursing excellence.  Recently, Meridian Health was the only health system in New Jersey to be ranked as one of the most Integrated Healthcare Systems in the nation according to SDI and Modern Healthcare Magazine.  For more information, please visit