PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NJHA President and CEO Elizabeth "Betsy" Ryan, the first woman to lead the 98-year-old healthcare trade group, announced today that she is stepping down after nine years at the Association's helm.
"It has been a privilege to work with the healthcare provider community in New Jersey in taking good care of the people of our state," said Ryan. "My tenure has coincided with one of the most transformative times in healthcare history. It's not easy to step down from a meaningful, fulfilling job, but I do so knowing that I've accomplished what I wanted in my career at NJHA. Change is good, and it's the right time for me and my family."
NJHA is a not-for-profit trade association with more than 300 members including hospitals, health systems, nursing homes, home health, hospice and other post-acute care providers. Ryan was named president and CEO in 2008. She also served as general counsel and chief operating officer over her 16-year career with NJHA. In addition to leading NJHA, she is also responsible for its affiliates, the nonprofit Health Research and Educational Trust, committed to healthcare quality improvement and education, and the for-profit NJHA Healthcare Business Solutions, which provides group purchasing and other services to healthcare providers.
Ryan's resignation will be effective in July 2017. The NJHA Board of Trustees, led by Chairman Les Hirsch, President of Saint Peter's Healthcare System, said it will launch a search to fill the position.
"It has been an honor to work alongside Betsy at NJHA," said Hirsch. "It is a deceptively difficult job to represent the collective interests of NJHA's diverse membership, but Betsy has done it with integrity, a steady hand, a very firm grasp on complex policy issues and an unyielding focus on doing what's right for our patients and communities. We have some big shoes to fill at NJHA, but I'm very happy for her and know that Betsy will continue to make a positive impact wherever her career takes her."
Ryan, a Florence resident, said she has no immediate professional plans but remains open to possible next steps in her career. In the short term, she said she looks forward to spending time with her husband Sam Kramer, a former FBI special agent who retired earlier this year, and her son Ryan – time that will likely include "a little bit of travel, a lot of high school basketball and baseball games and a stack of good books."
As head of NJHA, Ryan has guided the state's hospitals and other healthcare providers through one of the most dynamic periods in healthcare, with major policy changes under the Affordable Care Act. It has been marked by a flurry of merger and acquisitions of hospitals, major changes in healthcare payment policy, a growing emphasis on healthcare quality and efficiency, the shift in focus from inpatient care to community-based population health programs and the dramatic influence of technology.
Key achievements under Ryan's stewardship include:
- Strengthening NJHA's membership to include all of New Jersey's acute care hospitals and a growing representation of post-acute care providers representing the continuum of healthcare services.
- Supporting healthcare providers with education, data, regulatory guidance and more as they adjust to the dynamic changes brought by the Affordable Care Act.
- Providing statewide leadership and convening an array of partners in improving the quality of healthcare in New Jersey through the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety.
- Positioning NJHA as a leader nationally in initiatives such as a national demonstration project that tested a new "gainsharing" policy to improve care while reducing costs, the establishment of HRET as a certified "patient safety organization" and the designation of NJHA as a federally designated "hospital engagement network" to lead quality improvement activities in the state.
- Establishing strong relationships in Trenton and Washington, D.C., with elected leaders on both sides of the political aisle.
"For eight years, Betsy Ryan has been a tireless champion for New Jersey's patients and hospitals," said American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack. "Under her leadership, hospitals in the state have advanced patient safety initiatives, improving quality of care for many. Betsy provided a compelling and unified voice for New Jersey hospitals. A strong advocate at the state and national levels, Betsy has been a great partner with the AHA and has earned the respect of her hospital association colleagues across America. Her work has made a positive difference in the health and well-being of the residents of the Garden State."
Ryan started her career practicing law in Mount Holly and went on to serve as assistant counsel under former Gov. Jim Florio and chief of staff of the state Department of Health. She also was a senior vice president with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. and a regional executive for the American Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State. She served as a member of New Jersey's Board of Medical Examiners, the Clinton-Gore Transition Team, the legal audit team for the Clinton National Health Care Reform Task Force and the transition teams for Gov. Jon Corzine and Gov. Jim McGreevey. She also served as a member of the Florence Township Council.
She has been recognized widely for her healthcare leadership, including being named among NJ BIZ's "50 Most Powerful Individuals in Healthcare" and "100 Most Powerful Individuals in New Jersey Business" and South Jersey Biz magazine's "Women to Watch." She has also been honored with the 2016 Cook College Alumni Award, the 2015 Light of Hope Award from Catholic Charities, the 2012 Garden State Woman of the Year Award for Healthcare, 2012 Distinguished Service Award and 2011 Regents Award, both from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) - New Jersey Chapter; the 2010 Impact Award from the Organization of Nurse Executives/New Jersey; and the 2006 Women as Health Advocates Award from the N.J. Primary Care Association. Under her leadership, NJHA also was presented with the 2015 Freedom Award from the N.J. National Guard for its program hiring veterans to serve as health navigators, and the 2015 Innovation Award from ACHE for its gainsharing demonstration project.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Ryan received her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law and a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University (Cook College).
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SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)