Our History

History of the Jersey City Medical Center

Jersey City Medical Center entrance

For over 140 years, amidst countless trials and transformations, Jersey City Medical Center has emerged as an unwavering pillar of healthcare excellence in Hudson County. From navigating two world wars to the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Medical Center has consistently stood at the forefront, delivering exceptional care and steadfast support to the Hudson County region.

The Medical Center was established in 1882 as the “Charity Hospital.” The following year, the hospital launched the oldest and most respected EMS in the nation, serving residents of Jersey City and the surrounding communities in Hudson County. From its humble beginning with a horse drawn ambulance in the 19th century, Jersey City’s team of emergency medical personnel has responded to some of the greatest American tragedies, including the 1916 Black Tom explosion in Jersey City, in which 50 were presumed dead, and another 21 were hospitalized, to the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. During the September 11 attacks, JCMC treated over 2,000 people right at the Exchange Place pier and cared for as many as 200 patients at the hospital.

The hospital is integral to the city’s history and is as iconic and a pivotal part of the city’s heritage as other long-standing institutions like St. Peter’s Prep and St. Peter’s University.

The Medical Center was renamed Jersey City Hospital in 1885. It expanded to 200 beds, and in 1909, the original building was reserved for men, and a second wing was added for women. The hospital was renovated, and a new 23-story structure for surgery was constructed in 1931. The Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital was added to the complex in the same year.

Over the decades, Jersey City Medical Center evolved from a maternity hospital to a comprehensive, full-service medical center. Its reach extended county-wide, serving a diverse population in an immigrant-rich city. The hospital adapted to meet the healthcare needs of different communities.

The formal dedication of the Jersey City Medical Center Complex was on October 2, 1936, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicating the building. It was one of the first medical centers in the United States and the first in New Jersey. Decades later, in 1988, the Medical Center became a private, non-profit organization.

Since the early 2000s, the Medical Center has embarked on a transformative journey to enhance its services and accessibility for the community it serves. In 2004, the hospital’s new building opened, setting the stage for subsequent developments. The Medical Center relocated to a 15-acre campus overlooking New York Harbor and Liberty State Park. The downtown location is convenient for mass transportation and has helped attract physicians, staff, and patients throughout Northern New Jersey and NYC.

In 2008, the Medical Center began an impressive journey, earning the coveted Magnet Designation for Nursing Excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. They’ve earned the recognition for the next four consecutive cycles. This recognition marked the hospital’s commitment to delivering exceptional patient care and became a significant factor in how the public perceives healthcare organizations. The hospital has prioritized quality and patient safety and has earned an “A” in national safety ratings from the Leapfrog Group.

In 2010, Jersey City Medical Center embarked on a consolidation effort for patient services, a pivotal move to streamline and centralize care. The hospital’s strategic location and ease of transportation, whether by car or public transit like the PATH and Light Rail, have made it easily accessible to residents in the expansive Hudson County.

In 2015, the Medical Center joined the RWJBarnabas Health system. Jersey City Medical Centeris the region’s state-designated trauma center and the only hospital (medical center) in Hudson County to do open-heart surgery. Several additional programs and services are being planned for the site as the community around the hospital continues to grow and flourish. The following year, the hospital earned accreditation by DNV-GL as a CMS-approved provider of healthcare services, including acute medical, surgical, critical care, rehabilitative, obstetrical, emergency care, laboratory, and radiology services.

Throughout this period, Jersey City Medical Center has continually upgraded its facilities and services.

The hospital serves as a regional referral and teaching hospital, providing the highest level of care for women and infants, trauma, and cardiac patients. It provides Advanced Life Support for Hudson County, a Regional Trauma Center, a Level III Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Center, and a Regional Heart Hospital with cardiac surgery. The Medical Center has been at the forefront of medical advancements, continuously adopting state-of-the-art technologies to enhance patient care.

In late 2019, the Medical Center opened its radiation oncology practice at 414 Grand St., a few blocks from the main hospital campus, providing Hudson County residents with advanced radiation therapy options in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute. The facility offers state-of-the-art treatments, including 3D conformal radiation therapy, IMRT, Proton Beam therapy, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, CyberKnife®, Stereotactic body radiation therapy, Brachytherapy, Image-guided radiation therapy, and total skin electron beam therapy.

In 2020, the Medical Center opened a new Center for Sleep Disorders, adjacent to the main hospital campus. The center offers professional consultation, diagnostics, and treatments for patients aged five and older, addressing various sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.

Furthermore, the hospital has expanded its comprehensive cardiovascular program by introducing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in 2021. This advanced, less-invasive surgical procedure is designed to repair damaged aortic valves in older individuals with severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by narrowing of the aortic heart valve, impeding blood flow throughout the body. Unlike conventional aortic valve replacement, which requires stopping the patient’s heart and using an artificial heart-lung machine while making a large incision through the breastbone, TAVR can be performed with the heart still beating. The Medical Center’s adoption of TAVR further strengthens its position as a leader in cardiovascular care. Alongside three other RWJBarnabas Health facilities, the hospital performs a high volume of TAVR procedures, establishing itself as the state’s foremost provider of this groundbreaking treatment.

Also, in 2021, JCMC inaugurated a new center, made possible by the Madeline Fiadini LoRe Foundation for Cancer Prevention, to expand the delivery of comprehensive cancer care in Hudson County. The Madeline Fiadini LoRe Foundation Infusion Center offers advanced cancer treatment options, clinical trials, surgical procedures, and radiation therapy, ensuring residents receive world-class care close to home. The facility boasts eight infusion bays, two private rooms, support services, and a team of trained medical professionals to enhance patient outcomes. The Foundation works in partnership with the Rutgers Cancer Institute.

In addition to its medical technology and procedures advancements, Jersey City Medical Center has taken a proactive approach to addressing community health needs, particularly concerning food insecurity and chronic illnesses. In 2021, the hospital established the Food FARMacy, a unique initiative in Greenville at 1825 John F. Kennedy Blvd., to serve Hudson County residents who face food insecurity while living with chronic conditions like diabetes or obesity. Through partnerships with local organizations and generous donors, and by combining fresh produce with expert guidance, Food FARMacy equips individuals with the resources and knowledge necessary to adopt healthier eating habits.

The following year, the Medical Center introduced operating rooms to ensure the highest level of care, particularly in critical situations, supported by a Level II Trauma Center within the same facility.

In early 2022, the Medical Center introduced its newly renovated 2,350-square-foot vascular suite, offering comprehensive services, including consultations with vascular technologists and surgeons for circulatory issues and diagnostic needs. It is part of Jersey City Medical Center’s collaborative cardiovascular and thoracic care program with Rutgers University. It provides advanced cardiac services, non-invasive vascular diagnostics, vein ablations, sclerotherapy, pseudoaneurysm injections, wound management, and care from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School physicians.

The Medical Center made history in June 2022 by appointing Carlos Lejnieks, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties, as the first person of Hispanic descent to serve as the new Chair of the Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. The following month, the Medical Center unveiled a $100-million expansion of its Emergency Department and opened a Pediatric Emergency Department. The hospital also has been recognized for Gynecologic Surgery Excellence Award™ and is rated high performing in adult procedures and conditions.

Furthermore, Jersey City Medical Center earned the esteemed recognition of being a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation from 2018 through 2022, five consecutive times. The Medical Center earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate a commitment to equitable, inclusive, and compassionate care for LGBTQ patients and their families, who often face significant challenges in securing the medical care they need and deserve.

In early 2023, the hospital unveiled a new Neuro Interventional Cath Lab with innovative angiographic X-ray technology. This cutting-edge lab enables physicians to obtain detailed 3D submillimeter images of the brain and nervous system, facilitating diagnosing and treating conditions such as stroke, aneurysms, and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) for Hudson County residents. In 2023, JCMC unveiled the region’s first hybrid operating suites with full robotic surgery capabilities, marking another significant milestone in healthcare delivery. These suites are equipped with advanced technologies, including real-time imaging, and allows multiple surgical teams to work simultaneously in the same setting. This technology expands treatment options and increases safety, as complex procedures that previously required separate operating rooms and catheterization labs can now be performed in a single location.

In response to the evolving healthcare landscape, the Medical Center has expanded its range of specialized services. Robotic surgery and surgical oncology have emerged as critical growth areas, catering to a diverse patient population. Additionally, the hospital has recognized the importance of joint replacements and maternity care, enhancing its capabilities in these areas. In fact, the Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a state-designated Level III Regional Perinatal Center, helping infants with severe prematurity, respiratory distress, and feeding issues for the first 28 days of life.

In addition, an expanded Emergency Department, and the development of outpatient hubs throughout Hudson County demonstrate the Medical Center’s continued commitment to meeting the community’s healthcare needs. With a growing fleet of ambulances and advanced transport mechanisms, the hospital continues to extend its reach, ensuring that patients can access the care they require conveniently and efficiently.

By staying at the forefront of innovation and continuously expanding its capabilities, Jersey City Medical Center ensures that the community it serves has access to cutting-edge treatments and improved outcomes. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, the Medical Center remains dedicated to its mission of providing exceptional care and embracing medical advancements to better serve its patients’ needs in Hudson County and the region.

Patient Stories

  • “Before the surgery, I was trying to put on a happy face,” she says. “Now, I am truly happy. I feel good inside and out.”

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  • “I’ve always had a good feeling about the hospital, and when I spoke to the people at the transplant center, I felt at ease. The staff was wonderful.”

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  • “They were all so supportive”

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Patient Stories

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