Award-Winning Hospitals

Learn about New Jersey healthcare institutions with exceptional practices and procedures.

As New Jersey hospitals continue to rack up quality awards by organizations like The Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades, they continue to prove that there’s no need for patients to travel to New York or Pennsylvania in search of the highest-quality healthcare.

The Garden State’s award-winning hospitals have been recognized with distinctions ranging from “Top Hospital” and “Most Wired” awards to Magnet Recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for combining excellence in innovation and technology with the highest level of patient care and safety.

“There are so many awards programs that have recognized various New Jersey hospitals that it would be hard to name them all,” says Elizabeth A. Ryan, president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA). “These various quality awards are great, but what’s really important are the operational and process changes that lead to these awards. They signify the very real commitment and hard work that goes on in our hospitals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to run top-quality operations and provide excellent healthcare.”

Among the most prestigious distinctions, Ryan notes, is that New Jersey hospitals collectively are ranked No. 5 in the nation on The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Score. “There are 45 states behind us, but we are always striving for that top spot,” Ryan says. New Jersey has also been a national leader among hospitals that have achieved the Magnet Award for nursing excellence, which is presented by the American Nurses Credentialing Center; 23 state hospitals have received this honor, which ranks New Jersey among the top states within that program.

The state is also home to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (Pomona and Atlantic City) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton which have both received the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Award, which is presented by the United States government for quality. Jersey City Medical Center was recently awarded the Vision of Excellence Award, which is based on the same quality criteria as the Baldrige Award, Ryan notes.

“New Jersey is small in size, but the depth and breadth of our hospitals and other healthcare services is impressive,” she adds. The state is home to 71 acute care hospitals, plus specialty hospitals in behavioral health, rehabilitation, and other services including trauma centers, transplant programs, children’s hospitals and cancer care. “New Jersey has it all without having to cross a bridge or drive through a tunnel,” she adds. “I’m especially proud of our healthcare system’s ability to care for New Jersey’s diverse communities representing different cultures, languages and faiths – with compassionate and culturally sensitive care.”

Meanwhile, the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to set standards and regulations that all hospitals and healthcare providers must meet. In 2015, all three of Virtua’s hospitals earned straight “A’s” in patient safety for the third time after independent review, while the intensive care units in Marlton and Voorhees were singled out for exceptional patient care.

Virtua was listed as one of the Top 100 Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in the United States by Becker’s Hospital Review, awarded the Guardian of Excellence Award for Patient Experience by Press Ganey, and was granted a three-year full accreditation designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. “These awards not only look at patient satisfaction, but also the commitment of our team,” says Tracy Carlino, chief nursing officer of patient care services at Virtua. “Virtua believes that exceptional quality needs to be at the forefront of all that we do.”

In fact, many of the state’s hospitals are focusing on building up their specialty services in order to meet the healthcare needs of their respective communities – and ensure that patients no longer have to travel out of the state in order to receive the highest-quality cancer or stroke services. Lourdes Health System (with hospitals in Camden and Willingboro) has been improving the quality of its cardiac program, in part, by remaining on the forefront of minimally invasive cardiac surgery options for patients. The hospital has been recognized with distinctions ranging from five-star hospital ratings by Healthgrades for cardiac care, to being ranked among the top 50 hospitals across the country for cardiac surgery. “These awards are really important to us because it validates all the work we’ve been doing,” says Dr. Reginald Blaber, vice president of cardiac services for Lourdes Health System. “We don’t spend a lot of money on advertising, but earning these awards helps reaffirm our belief that Lourdes is the best kept secret in healthcare.”

While Lourdes continues to be recognized for its innovations in cardiac care, Holy Name Medical Center received the 2016 Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Bariatric Surgery. The institution was also recently awarded an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group in its Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from accidents, errors, injuries and infections. More than 2,500 general hospitals across the country were assigned scores in the fall of 2015, with about one-third of hospitals receiving an “A” grade. Some 32 acute care hospitals in New Jersey earned an “A” for safety.

“Year in and year out, Leapfrog’s survey results demonstrate Holy Name Medical Center’s commitment to providing the region with the highest standard of patient care by fostering a culture of safety and quality,” says Michael Maron, president and CEO of Holy Name Medical Center. “We credit our outstanding medical, nursing, technical and administrative staff for meeting and exceeding expectations.”

HackensackUMC, a 775- bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship institution of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in New Jersey, comprising 1,717 beds, more than 10,000 team members and 3,300 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals.

HackensackUMC is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country, according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 24 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet®-recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events.

Not only are the state’s hospitals earning awards for safety, but New Jersey’s healthcare institutions are also being recognized as exceptional places to work for employees. Modern HealthCare magazine recently listed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) as one of the best places to work in healthcare, while healthcare systems like Atlantic Health System and Meridian Health have received continued acclaim on the annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” survey conducted by FORTUNE and the Great Place to Work Institute for accomplishments that include low staff turnover and 15 years or more of service for more than 20 percent of team members. “RWJUH is simply a brick-and-mortar building … it’s truly our people who serve as the heart of our organization and make us who we are,” says Michael Antoniades, executive vice president and chief operating officer at RWJUH.

Along with several state hospitals, RWJUH was recently recognized by Hospitals and Health Networks as “Most Wired.” The hospital has also been honored with Magnet distinction four times, and was ranked among the best comprehensive cancer centers by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. The Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset was designated a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center while the Joint Surgery Center at the facility has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery. “We don’t get up in the morning and say, ‘Let’s go win an award today,’ but these recognitions do reaffirm our commitment to the work we’re doing here … and we’re proud of the time and effort and resources and everything that has gone into receiving that award,” Antoniades asserts.

St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, which includes St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, was also awarded Magnet recognition for the fourth consecutive time this year, while also receiving New Jersey State Department of Health designations for its Trauma Center, Regional Cardiovascular Center, Comprehensive Stroke Center and Regional Perinatal Care facility, which operates a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This year, the New Jersey Sharing Network (NJSN) also presented St. Joseph’s Healthcare System with a silver recognition for its efforts towards increasing awareness of organ donations.

The year 2015 also saw the announcement of another significant merger in the state’s healthcare industry: The CEOs of Barnabas Health and RWJ Health System announced final plans to merge and create the largest hospital system in the state. The new not-for-profit entity, RWJ Barnabas Health, will boast 11 acute care hospitals, four children’s hospitals, a behavioral health center, ambulatory care centers, and five fitness and wellness facilities. St. Barnabas was just recognized by Leapfrog as a “Top Hospital,” and has also been named a “Most Wired” hospital.

“By having our services recognized by these organizations, it raises the bar for us to continue providing quality outcomes and enhancing our services for the community. We feel we have a responsibility to offer these services at the highest possible level,” says Steven P. Zieniewicz, president and CEO of Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

Among the hospital’s specialty programs that have been recognized are its burn center – it was recently re-certified by the American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons, and remains the only burn center in the state to earn this distinction. Saint Barnabas’ cancer centers, renal transplant programs and neonatal intensive care units have also been recognized with awards for their outcomes.

“We’re both expanding our clinical programs as we go through the process of merging our two systems, and we’re confident that the merger will allow us to continue to advance and integrate the level of care we can offer patients right here in the state of New Jersey,” Antoniades adds.

Also the result of a merger 15 years ago, Trinitas Regional Medical Center also earned the “Most Wired” distinction by Hospitals and Health Networks, in addition to being named a “Top Hospital” for the second consecutive year by Castle Connolly. “The ‘Most Wired’ distinction supports what we’re doing in the area of information technology, such as our use of electronic health records,” explains Gary Horan, president and CEO of Trinitas Regional Medical Center. “We rely heavily on information technology as we move forward into this next generation of healthcare.”

The school of nursing at Trinitas has also been recognized; it was distinguished as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education from the National League for Nursing for the second consecutive time. It was the first hospital school of nursing in the country to receive the prestigious award. Several of the hospital’s other specialties – including its dialysis center – have been recognized with five-star ratings for excellence in quality. “It’s very important for the community to know that we’re a hospital that has excellence associated with our quality of patient care,” Horan adds. “It’s also great for the employees; everyone likes to be associated with a winner, but more importantly, our team is proud of the opportunity to demonstrate that we take patient quality and safety very seriously.”

In Mercer County, both of Capital Health Medical Center’s hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations, and they are the only Magnet-recognized hospitals in the county. Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell was recently the only Mercer County hospital recognized as a Joint Commission 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for outstanding performance in using evidence-based clinical processes shown to improve care for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, stroke and perinatal care.

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center has also been receiving both hospital-wide awards as well as designations for its specialty care services. The hospital was ranked first in New Jersey for overall surgical care via the CareChex Medical Excellence Award. The CareChex Patient Safety Awards also recognized Englewood for both surgical care and overall hospital care, listing the organization as among the first in New Jersey, as well as within the top 25 and top 10 percent in the nation.

Englewood earned its eighth consecutive safety score of “A” in the fall of 2015 by Leapfrog, as well as the honor of being named a Top Hospital in 2014 and 2015 by the organization. Healthgrades also recognized the hospital’s commitment to safety with the Patient Safety Excellence Award for two years in a row (2014 and 2015), as well as ranking Englewood among the top five percent in the nation for patient safety for 2014 and 2015.

“Whether it’s Leapfrog or Healthgrades, we’re starting to see a theme emerging … and we’re proud that these recognitions demonstrate our commitment to safety and preventing harm within our hospital while upholding our responsibility to provide the best possible care to our community,” says Kathy Kaminsky, senior vice president of clinical effectiveness and chief quality officer, and interim chief nursing officer, for Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. “These awards help us to always maintain an awareness of what the best care can or should be, and continually update our services as new evidence and research emerges.”

CarePoint Health – Bayonne Medical Center (BMC) was also recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, while Atlantic Health System was listed among the 100 Accountable Care Organizations to Know by Becker’s Hospital Review. “We believe that quality and safety are both paramount in delivering top-notch and compassionate healthcare,” says Jeff Mandler, chief executive officer of CarePoint Health. “For this reason, we’ve made it a top priority to improve positive patient outcomes through evidence-based care processes.”

Like many of the state’s hospitals, Capital Health Medical Center has also been recognized with accreditations and certifications for the ability to offer the highest quality in specialized services, such as cancer treatment. The Capital Health Center for Oncology was recently awarded Accreditation with Gold Commendation and an Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, while its Breast Center is also nationally accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. The hospital’s comprehensive stroke center is one of only five in New Jersey that has been certified by the Joint Commission, and its Hopewell campus has earned Joint Commission certification as a primary stroke center.

“The commitment of our employees and healthcare providers has resulted in our hospitals and programs being recognized with numerous awards and certifications,” says Dr. Al Maghazehe, president and chief executive officer of Capital Health Medical Center. “They recognize the overall excellence of our care, and also our commitment to specialized care for many diseases, which allows patients to stay closer to home instead of traveling to the city.”

Capital Health Regional Medical Center is a state-designated and American College of Surgeons-verified Level II Trauma Center, and also provides the county’s Emergency Mental Health Services Center. Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell has full accreditation with PCI as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care – the first in the region – and the orthopedics program at Hopewell has earned Joint Commission certification for joint replacement of the hip.

“Our focus, day in and day out, is on our patients and their families, recruiting new doctors, expanding services, investing in new equipment, and providing preventative care,” Maghazehe concludes. “All of these [awards and certifications] are about providing a high level of care to our patients, whether it’s in one of our hospitals or in our practices or at our outpatient facility. Everything ties back to the patients and their care.”


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