A partnership implemented last week intends to make it easier for South Jersey parents to get care for their children - from premature newborns to teenagers - through The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia specialists.

Officials from AtlantiCare and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, said the move brings CHOP specialists to AtlantiCare hospitals in Atlantic County.

The agreement will put CHOP pediatric hospitalists - pediatricians who specialize in patient care inside hospitals - on site at the Stanley M. Grossman Pediatric Center at Atlanticare Regional Medical Center's Atlantic City campus.

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In addition, CHOP neonatologists will be at AtlantiCare's Roger B. Hansen Center for Childbirth at its Mainland Campus in Galloway Township, the organizations announced on March 17.

Its clinicians can also consult with AtlantiCare emergency rooms.

"Our goal is to bring the CHOP level of care as appropriate to the communities close to home where they live. It allows us to do it in the region," said Amy Lambert, senior vice president of the CHOP Care Network.

Charisse Fizer, vice president of Clinical Operations and Ambulatory Services at AtlantiCare, said the health-care provider reached out to CHOP last year to pursue a partnership.

"We've always had a natural progression of patients who leave this area and go to the Philadelphia market, for whatever the reason. We always had some patients who went to CHOP naturally," Fizer said.

Fizer said one of the biggest noticeable differences will be the coordination of care.

Dr. Magna Dias, a CHOP pediatric hospitalist and medical director at CHOP Care Network at AtlantiCare, spoke of a recent example of what that coordination can mean.

"Just this week I had a patient in the CHOP system who had been seen by a specialist in the CHOP system and had to be admitted in the hospital. The family told me based on what they remembered, and it didn't really make sense to me. I was able to log onto the CHOP system and read the notes from the specialist and realize more concretely what was going on with the patient," Dias said.

AtlantiCare is the region's largest health-care organization, with more than 5,200 employees and nearly 70 locations. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's regional Care Network has more than 50 locations throughout New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania.

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