Cooper University Hospital is a dynamic, integrated health care delivery system that provides comprehensive medical services to the residents of southern New Jersey. As the clinical campus of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Cooper University Hospital is dedicated to medical education and research excellence. Cooper University Physicians, the teaching faculty of the medical school, maintains more than 100 offices at 38 locations throughout southern New Jersey and in Pennsylvania.
Based on more than a century of commitment and achievements in the areas of patient care and community service, Cooper University Health Care provides a continuum of care in both primary and tertiary areas. Cooper offers everything from the most sophisticated, technologically advanced medicine at Cooper University Hospital in Camden to a full array of primary care, preventive care and wellness resources located throughout South Jersey.
The origins of Cooper University Hospital can be traced to 1887, when a prominent Quaker family named Cooper opened a hospital to provide medical care for the indigent population of Camden. Richard M. Cooper, M.D., four of his brothers and sisters and one nephew donated money and land for the hospital to be built between Sixth and Seventh Streets, from Mickle to Benson Streets. Though the four-story, stone building was completed in 1877, the original 30-bed hospital stood empty for 10 years until enough money was available to open for patients in August 1887.
From the beginning, Cooper Hospital was a cornerstone in the Camden community. As hospital facilities and medical care advanced, Cooper Hospital began to treat not only the indigent population but those who could pay as well. The hospital staff, physicians, nurses, auxiliary members and patients were seen as part of a larger "Cooper Family," and generation after generation of physicians often called Cooper their medical home.
In the first 100 years of the hospital's existence, additions to the original building and the construction of freestanding structures on the surrounding five acres of land further anchored the Cooper Hospital campus in Camden. Inside these buildings medicine advanced at a rapid pace, eventually turning the small community hospital into a 540-bed regional tertiary care center that cared for the population's most critically ill patients. Hospital officials and leading physicians often engaged in heated debates on the merits of moving to another location, but the answer was always the same: Cooper Hospital should stay in Camden.
Over time, Cooper Hospital has not only remained true to its original mission but has grown to meet the medical challenges of a geographically dispersed patient population and a rapidly changing health care environment. Before Cooper celebrated its first 100 years of service, professional hospital managers had replaced well-intentioned Board of Trustees in managing hospitals, while government regulations affected such physician prerogatives as determining patient length of stay and what physicians would be reimbursed for specific procedures. Cooper Hospital eventually became The Cooper Health System and the clinical campus of the University of Medicine and Dentistry/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The development of the medical school affiliation advanced Cooper as the major teaching hospital in South Jersey.
When Cooper celebrated its Centennial Anniversary in 1987, no one could have predicted the dramatic changes that would take place in health care over the next 10 years. Dominated by health insurers who pay for patient services, hospitals everywhere have aligned with health care systems in order to negotiate favorable payments from payors and develop the medical expertise to draw large numbers of patients.
To compete in this managed care environment, Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center (now Cooper University Hospital) became one component of an integrated health care delivery system called The Cooper Health System in 1996.
The Cooper name is now synonymous with a full range of health system services - including prevention, primary care, specialty ambulatory services, all levels of inpatient care and subacute care. While Cooper continues to invest in its Camden facility, multi-specialty physician offices are now also strategically located throughout the southern New Jersey region.
In June 2004, Cooper University Hospital announced a $220 million expansion to the hospital's Health Sciences Campus that included a new patient care pavilion attached to the existing facility. Subsequently, plans for the new patient care pavilion were expanded from six floors (211,000 sq ft.) to ten floors (312,000 sq ft.), with the inclusion of additional landscape improvements and patient amenity design features.
Cooper University Hospital's pavilion project is part of the hospital's efforts to create a regional health science campus in Camden, which also includes the new Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, a cancer institute, clinical research building, clinical office building and additional off-street parking.
The patient pavilion opened in December 2008 and the hospital's orientation was shifted from Haddon Avenue to Martin Luther King Boulevard, as visitors began entering the hospital through the new lobby and utilizing the Camden County Improvement Authority parking garage, which connects to the hospital via an enclosed walkway.