Top Honors for Award-Winning Hospitals

Numerous healthcare systems and institutions in the state received top honors last year for delivering exceptional care. In the following article, we review a handful of these top-notch facilities.

When it comes to healthcare, New Jersey ranks eighth overall in the nation, according to a 2023 study published by U.S. News and World Report, with the state’s best grade in “Public Health” (third) and lowest in “Healthcare Quality” (20th). Though this represents a year-over-year decline – New Jersey ranked fourth in 2022 – the state’s hospitals racked up an impressive number of awards last year in everything from specialty care and patient experience to maternity services, diversity, and technology. Recipients of these honors included, but were not limited to: The Valley Hospital, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, RWJBarnabas Health, Virtua Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC), and New Bridge Health – all innovators and leaders in New Jersey’s healthcare industry.

The Valley Hospital

Ranked third among New Jersey’s 73 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 2023-24 – and 17th in the New York metropolitan area – The Valley Hospital was described as “high performing” in 15 adult procedures and conditions, including abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack and heart bypass surgery. Valley was also named one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for 2023 by Healthgrades, a Denver-based company that provides information about physicians, hospitals, and healthcare providers, as well as a “top healthcare brand” by Monigle – an independent healthcare consulting company that prioritizes patient experience – putting Valley in the company of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Northwestern Medicine, and the Mayo Clinic.

In addition to patient experience, Valley was also recognized with an “A” grade for patient safety for the 21st time by The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2023 Hospital Safety Guide. The Hospital Safety Guide assigns letter grades – A, B, C, D, or F – based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, injuries, accidents, and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent patient harm.

In the area of healthcare sustainability, Valley was recognized for the eighth-straight year by Practice Greenhealth, an organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in healthcare. More specifically, Valley received the Partner for Change Award for its ongoing commitment to improving environmental performance, as well as Practice Greenhealth’s “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. “Our efforts will continue on April 14, as we open The Valley Hospital in Paramus, our new hospital that will be the heart of a 40-acre health and wellness campus where our use of renewable energy and high-efficiency systems will help us reach new levels of sustainability.”

Saint Peter’s University Hospital

Like Valley, Saint Peter’s University Hospital also made U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Hospitals 2023-24, being recognized for four procedures and/or conditions: Diabetes, hip fracture, kidney failure and leukemia/lymphoma/myeloma. Along these lines, Saint Peter’s is widely recognized for its education and advocacy in diabetes care, which is a high incidence condition within the South Asian community where it is based in Middlesex County.

The hospital recently opened the Saint Peter’s Health & Wellness Center, a state-of-the-art outpatient facility that offers speech and language therapy, and audiology services for children and adults, in addition to the physical and occupational therapy services originally onsite. The Center also houses Saint Peter’s Division of Ear, Nose and Throat and Head and Neck Surgery.

Saint Peter’s was also included in Newsweek’s list of America’s Best-In-State Hospitals 2024 based on a nationwide online survey of healthcare professionals and patients conducted by Newsweek and Statista. This came along with the Saint Peter’s CARES Surgicenter being named for the third consecutive year to Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Ambulatory Surgery Centers for its quality of care, performance data and peer recommendations – relative to in-state competition.

Additionally, Saint Peter’s has been honored specifically for its women’s services, being named one of America’s Best Hospitals by the Women’s Choice Award for patient experience, comprehensive breast care, cancer care, mammogram imaging, minimally invasive surgery, obstetrics, patient safety, stroke care, and women’s services. At the same time, it made Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Maternity Hospitals 2023, reinforcing the hospital’s long-standing reputation as a destination for excellence in maternal health services, according to Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, president and CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System.

“The Newsweek recognition validates the fact that choosing Saint Peter’s means choosing to birth your baby at one of the best facilities in the country and is also a testament to Saint Peter’s team of maternal health specialists who are among the top nationwide providing comprehensive care before, during and after pregnancy,” Hirsch says.

RWJBarnabas Health

RWJBarnabas Health, the largest academic healthcare system in New Jersey, received several honors in 2023, including being named to the Global Healthcare Exchange’s “Best 50” list for working to improve patient outcomes through supply chain automation and innovation. According to Bob Taylor, senior vice president of supply chain for RWJBarnabas, his organization’s “highly strategic, data-driven approach to supply procurement has proven to enhance caregivers’ ability to improve the quality of patient outcomes.”

Some hospitals under the RWJBarnabas umbrella received individual awards as well. These included Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), which was named to the 2023 Newsweek list of World’s Best Hospitals for the fifth consecutive year; the Ambulatory Surgical Pavilion at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in New Brunswick, which was included in Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Ambulatory Surgery Centers 2024 for the third-straight year; and Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, which was called out for high-quality nursing practice by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program.

At the same time, four RWJBarnabas facilities received the Leapfrog Group’s “A” Hospital Safety Score: Community Medical Center in Toms River, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch (the only hospital in the southern region to receive an “A” for 17 consecutive rating periods), Monmouth Medical Center South Campus in Lakewood, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in Rahway.

“At RWJBarnabas Health, safety is the No. 1 priority for everyone who comes through the doors,” says Andy Anderson, MD, executive vice president, chief medical and quality officer at RWJBarnabas Health. “The hard-working staff at each facility, which day in and day out provide the best patient-centered care, also demonstrates clinical expertise and compassion. This has helped us achieve well-deserved high ratings across the system.”

Virtua Health

Virtua Health, one of the largest employers in the greater Philadelphia region, was named a Best-in-State Employer by Forbes for the fifth time, while also earning a spot on Modern Healthcare’s “Best Places to Work” list – both rankings being based primarily on employee surveys, according to Rhonda Jordan, SHRM-SCP, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Virtua Health.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a sought-after and nurturing place to work by respected entities like Forbes and Modern Healthcare,” she says. “Caring for the community is all about making meaningful connections and building trust. Being named a top place to work conveys to the people in South Jersey that our workforce is engaged, united, and dedicated to delivering their absolute best.”

And in the area of prioritizing women, Virtua’s three hospitals with maternity divisions earned the distinction of “high performing” on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of Best Hospitals for Maternity Care.

“Healthcare ought to be the industry that sets the precedent for women in leadership roles,” Jordan says. “After all, women represent the majority of the workforce. I am inspired by the prevalence of women in leadership roles across Virtua. Together, we are helping to advance the region.”

Hackensack Meridian Health

U.S. News & World Report named Hackensack Meridian Health’s Hackensack University Medical Center the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey on its annual Best Hospitals list, while Jersey Shore University Medical Center was ranked sixth, and Hackensack Meridian Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital were jointly ranked as No. 1 New Jersey children’s hospitals. The magazine also recognized: Hackensack Meridian John Theurer Cancer Center as a premier cancer center in New Jersey; Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute as a Top 50 Rehabilitation Hospital in the nation for the fifth year in a row; and Jersey Shore University Medical Center as a Top 10 Hospital for the 11th straight year.

Hackensack Meridian Health was also ranked No. 1 in the nation for diversity, equity and inclusion on the Fair360 Top (formerly DiversityInc) Top Hospitals and Health Systems list, recognizing the network’s efforts to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce and to address disparities in health outcomes. In addition, CEO Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, was included on such lists as Modern Healthcare’s 2023 Most Influential in Healthcare; and CEO Forum’s 2023 10 CEOs Transforming Healthcare (No. 1 for the third year in a row), among others.

“Hackensack Meridian Health initiatives elevate and expand access to care, enhance research and discovery, innovate medical education, improve quality outcomes, and advance pandemic-related recovery,” Garrett says.

Other Distinctions

According to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which assesses hospital performance on the highest standards for quality and patient safety, New Jersey facilities recognized among the Top Teaching Hospitals include:

  • Bergen New Bridge Medical Center
  • Deborah Heart and Lung Center
  • Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
  • Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore Medical Center
  • Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill
  • Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital
  • Morristown Medical Center
  • St. Luke’s Warren Campus
  • Virtua Voorhees Hospital

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) earned four stars in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Quality Star Ratings annual update, making ARMC the highest rated acute care hospital in southern New Jersey. ARMC also gained recognition on the Forbes America’s Best-in-State Employers 2023 list for the second-straight year, while its Atlantic City Campus – home of AtlantiCare’s Neurosciences Institute – once again earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Heart-Check mark for Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification.

New Bridge Health also had an impressive run in 2023, with its Bergen New Bridge Medical Center being recognized by the Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and COMMERCE Magazine as one of three companies across the state that gave back to their communities. This was based on the medical center’s outreach over the last two years in conducting COVID-19 testing and vaccinations both onsite and out in the community.

New Bridge Medical Center was also named a Top Hospital by The Leapfrog Group for its achievements in patient safety and quality – one of just 132 hospitals nationwide to be recognized as a Leapfrog Top Hospital and one of only 74 to be recognized as a Top Teaching Hospital. New Bridge President and CEO Deborah Visconi says, “This designation does more than recognize our team’s commitment to quality – it also reassures the diverse communities we serve that Bergen New Bridge is here for them, providing all the care they need in the safest possible environment.”

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