NJ Hospitals Deliver Award-Winning Services

A review of some of the state’s most honored healthcare facilities reveals residents are in good hands when it comes to medical care.

When it comes to healthcare quality, New Jersey ranks among the best states in the nation. According to a 2022 survey by U.S. News & World Report, New Jersey came in fourth overall, trailing only Hawaii, Massachusetts and Connecticut – with special distinction in the “public health” arena (behind only California).

This excellence in healthcare was evidenced in the number of awards New Jersey hospitals and healthcare systems garnered last year, including The Valley Hospital, Hackensack Meridian Health, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System and Virtua Health. These institutions and others continue to make strides in technology, elder care, sustainability, pre-natal and neo-natal care, diversity, and many other areas that should keep New Jersey a leader in the healthcare arena for years to come.

The Valley Hospital

Being a top hospital these days means living on the cutting edge of technology, and The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood continues to excel in this area. Valley – the third-best hospital in New Jersey, according to U.S. News & World Report – was recognized by CHIME Digital Health for being among the “Most Wired” hospitals and health systems that are at the forefront of using healthcare information technology (IT) to improve delivery of care. Among the more than 38,000 organizations surveyed by CHIME, Valley ranked above other hospitals in categories such as analytics and data management, population health, infrastructure and patient engagement.

Valley’s care of elderly patients caught the attention of the NICHE and the ABIM Foundation, which chose the hospital for its 2022 Trailblazer Award for improving quality of care by reducing tests and treatments that have little or no benefit, prioritizing patient safety and preferences, and improving care coordination. The award was given, in part, to recognize Valley’s “Move 2 Improve” program, created to encourage daily movement of geriatric patients through focused ambulation sessions, which has resulted in decreased patient falls with injury; increased patient independence; decreased length of hospital stay; and fewer physical therapy consultations.

Additionally, with a long-term commitment to “going green,” Valley was recognized for the seventh-straight year by Practice Greenhealth, an organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in healthcare. Valley received the Greenhealth Emerald Environmental Excellence Award for making sustainability part of the fabric of the hospital’s operations and culture, as well as the Greening the OR Recognition Award for efforts to improve environmental performance in the operating room.

“Valley is committed to reducing our environmental footprint,” says Audrey Meyers, president and CEO of Valley Health System, which is in the process of building a state-of-the-art hospital in Paramus. “Our efforts will continue at our new healthcare campus, where our use of renewable energy and high-efficiency systems will help us reach new levels of sustainability.”

In addition, Valley received these honors:

A U.S. News & World Report survey designated Valley as “high performing” – the highest possible rating – in 13 procedures and conditions, including colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart bypass surgery, hip replacement, kidney failure, pneumonia and stroke.

The hospital was recognized with an “A” grade for patient safety last year – the 19th time – with the release of The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2022 Hospital Safety Grade.

Valley Health System was also named a Top Healthcare Employer in New Jersey on the Forbes Best-in-State Employers 2022 list.

Hackensack Meridian Health

For Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH), New Jersey’s largest health system with 18 hospitals across the state, recognition in 2022 started at the top with CEO Robert C. Garrett, FACHE. Garrett was named one of Modern Healthcare’s most influential people – a list that also includes President Joe Biden, Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and the CEOs of Pfizer, Moderna and the American Hospital Association.

Among Garrett’s many initiatives were overseeing the opening of Hackensack Meridian’s School of Medicine, New Jersey’s first new medical school in 60 years, and the 2019 opening of the Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), which develops novel therapies for difficult diseases, including COVID, cancer, diabetes, dementia, antibiotic resistant infection, and auto-immune disorders.

Also recognized on Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Innovators list was Nicole Harris Hollingsworth, EdD, MCHES, HMH’s vice president of Social Determinants of Health. Harris-Hollingsworth leads the network’s innovative Healthy Connections program, which screens patients for and then develops programming around the five anchor health determinants – food security, housing stability, transportation access, caregiver support and mental/behavioral health and substance use disorders.

HMH’s continued focus on diversity, equity and inclusion was also recognized for a second-straight year on DiversityInc’s Top Hospitals and Health Systems list. HMH, which placed fourth overall (up from 11th in 2021), has been dedicated to placing underrepresented team members in leadership positions; identifying and addressing localized health disparities; increasing spending with diverse suppliers; launching bias training for all staff; and appointing the first African-American male to the HMH Board of Trustees, among other initiatives. In addition, the School of Medicine is aiding the network’s goal of expanding diversity to its medical teams, with women making up nearly half the class admitted in 2020, and half the class identifying as persons of color.

“These awards are of utmost importance because they showcase the world-class care that we are providing to members of the communities we serve,” says HMH’s Robert C. Garrett. The health system also earned U.S. News & World Report rankings for six of its hospitals and the Leapfrog Group’s “A” safety rating at eight locations.

Virtua Health

Like HMH, Virtua Health was recognized in 2022 for a work environment that prioritizes inclusion, diversity and a shared set of guiding principles referred to as the “Culture of WE.” As one of the region’s largest employers with about 14,000 staff members, Virtua earned a spot on Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” list for the 16th year, and President & CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, was among Becker Hospital Review’s “75 Black Healthcare Leaders to Know in 2022,” and Modern Healthcare’s “Top-25 diversity leaders.”

Virtua was also recognized as a Top 50 Health System Brand nationwide and the highest rated among Philadelphia/South Jersey health systems. At the same time, 16 of its same-day surgery centers were included on Newsweek’s “Best ASCs” list. Additionally: Virtua Voorhees and Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes were recognized for outstanding care by U.S. News & World Report and named among the best-performing hospitals in New Jersey; the Philadelphia Metropolitan area American Heart Association honored all five Virtua hospitals for their commitment to ensuring patients who had a stroke or have heart failure receive the latest, evidence-based treatments; and Virtua Voorhees Hospital was named a Top Teaching Hospital in the nation for the sixth time.

Additionally, after welcoming a record-setting 9,109 babies across three hospitals in 2021, Virtua earned several awards for maternity care last year, including Newsweek and Statista’s America’s Best Maternity Hospitals (Virtua Voorhees Hospital); Money & Leapfrog Group’s Top Maternity Hospitals (Virtua Voorhees Hospital); and U.S. News & World Report’s Top Maternity Hospitals (Virtua Voorhees & Virtua Mount Holly hospitals).

“We recognize the tremendous responsibility that comes with helping women and families welcome their babies to the world,” says Nicole Lamborne, MD, Virtua’s vice president of clinical operations for women’s health. “Recognition like this affirms our patient-focused practices and collaborative, team-based approach to care.”

Saint Peter’s Healthcare System

In the area of caring for women and children, few New Jersey institutions have excelled like Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in New Brunswick, the first hospital in New Jersey to have applied for and earned Level IV Maternal Care Verification from The Joint Commission for delivering comprehensive care for women at all stages of pregnancy – from low-risk to high-risk. In addition, the Dorothy B. Hersh Pediatric Emergency Department, part of The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s, was the only pediatric emergency department to earn the Lantern Award from the Emergency Nurses Association in 2022. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Saint Peter’s, whose staff delivered more than 5,300 babies in 2021, was recognized by Newsweek as one of the nation’s Best Maternity Hospitals for 2022. The healthcare system also received Women’s Choice Awards for Obstetrics, Women’s Services, Stroke Center, Cancer Care, Breast Center, Mammogram Center and Pediatric Emergency Care, as well as The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Perinatal Care Certification.

In addition to its awards for work with women and children, Saint Peter’s CARES Surgicenter was named the No. 1 ambulatory surgery center in New Jersey. The hospital was also honored with the Competency and Credentialing Institute’s Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) Strong designation for the ninth time, while being recognized by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and COMMERCE Magazine’s “Companies That Care” with a platinum award for COVID-19 Community Response and Support.

“The many accolades bestowed upon Saint Peter’s University Hospital could not have been possible without the hard work, dedication and resilience of every single employee and physician [who works here],” says Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, president and CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. “[Our employees] are committed to fulfilling the hospital’s Catholic mission of humble service to humanity, treating patients physically, emotionally and spiritually by delivering the highest level of quality care with compassion.”

Many other New Jersey hospitals and hospital systems were also recognized for excellence, including the following:

RWJBarnabas Health was recognized 32 times by the Healthgrades 2023 Specialty Excellence Awards for superior clinical performance in numerous specialty care areas, including cardiac, critical care, and surgical care. RWJBarnabas facilities were also among the 2022-2023 Best Hospitals for Maternity Care, while three RWJBarnabas Health facilities were awarded with “A” Hospital Safety Score ratings by the Leapfrog Group.

Englewood Health was named a Top Teaching Hospital by the Leapfrog Group, one of just 58 to earn this distinction. The hospital also received a “High Performing” rating in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital for Maternity Care listing, as well as a Most Wired Hospital recognition in the 2022 Digital Health Most Wired Survey, marking the ninth consecutive year it has achieved this honor.

For work in delivering extraordinary care for moms, Atlantic Health System’s Morristown, Overlook, Chilton and Newton medical centers have been recognized again as High Performing in Maternity Care by U.S. News & World Report. Atlantic Health System medical centers were also recognized by Healthgrades 2023 as leaders in delivering high quality care and superior patient outcomes across numerous specialties.

Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus was named a Top Hospital and Top Teaching Hospital nationally by The Leapfrog Group because of achievements in patient safety and quality. This is the second year in a row the medical center has been recognized with this rating.

University Hospital in Newark has received three American Heart Association (AHA) awards for implementing quality improvement measures that ensure cardiovascular patients receive efficient and coordinated care. The AHA’s “Get with the Guidelines” and “Mission: Lifeline” awards represent more lives saved, shorter recovery times and fewer returns to the hospital.

Holy Name Medical Center in Hackensack was named among the best hospitals for obstetrics and gynecology in New Jersey, according to the latest ranking by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking was based on a number of categories, including patient outcomes, nurse staffing, patient services, surgeries and technology.

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