Plans to move Reliance Medical Group’s headquarters and open new primary and specialty care offices in Atlantic City are underway with a long-term goal of improving health access for city residents, officials said.
Reliance will be based in the city’s 2nd Ward at Tennessee and Baltic avenues, said President and CEO Dr. Jon Regis. The plan is to turn the one-floor structure into a four-story building outfitted with insurance services, adult primary care, behavioral health and other programs.
“We’re very excited,” Regis said. “We’re looking at the project as a part of the Atlantic City ‘renaissance.’ We’re looking to move forward with it and bring more access to patients.”
Reliance is a 33-year-old private medical provider with about 30 locations throughout Atlantic, Camden, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties. It is currently headquartered on Tilton Road in Northfield.
Regis owns the building, which he said used to be the site of a city-owned and operated health care practice in the 1980s. It was later home to a Reliance health care office and then rented out, but it has been vacant for several years.
He said he plans to remodel the existing first floor and open the corporate and health care offices in the next 90 days.
Reliance will then work with city officials and others to build another three floors that will provide more room for the different services. Regis said once work on the additional floors starts, he hopes it will be completed in 24 months.
Construction plans are in a preliminary stage, and there is no final cost estimate yet, but Regis said it will be a multimillion-dollar project that will bring about 150 jobs to the area.
“I’m excited to see it come to fruition,” said City Council President Marty Small. “Reliance has had a strong relationship with the Atlantic City community for years. With business being reignited in the 2nd Ward, we’re happy to have (Regis).”
Legacy Treatment Services is set to provide the behavioral health services at the new location, and an insurance company and medical laboratory company will be brought in, too, Regis said.
One of Reliance’s first locations was in Atlantic City in the late 1980s, when there were limited health care options for lower-income residents and a lack of African American-owned health care practices, Regis said.
The city is still in need of more development, Regis said, referencing a state transition report co-authored by Special Counsel Jim Johnson. The report includes recommendations on improving health care in Atlantic City.
Regis said he would like to develop a doula, or birth coach, program to complement maternal and infant health care and help reduce mortality, especially among women and babies of color.
“I welcome his energy for improving health in Atlantic City,” Johnson said of Regis and the expansion plans. “I think he’s an important partner in the effort.”