PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, of Denville, president and CEO of Saint Clare's Health System, today was installed as chairman of the board of the New Jersey Hospital Association, the state's oldest and largest hospital and healthcare advocacy organization. The board chairman's official installation, as well as the appointment of new board officers and members, was held during NJHA's 96th Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Princeton.
Hirsch succeeds outgoing chair Stephen K. Jones of Kendall Park, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Health System in New Brunswick. In taking the reins of the NJHA Board, Hirsch discussed the tremendous challenges confronting healthcare providers in this era of healthcare reform and system redesign. The changes are needed to reduce healthcare spending and sustain the system for the future, says Hirsch, but they also present significant difficulties for healthcare providers.
"It will take a number of years to restructure the nation's healthcare system. The transition will be difficult and our hospitals will remain under constant threat of more funding reductions at both the state and federal levels," said Hirsch. "There comes a point where the cuts can go too deep. I worry about what might happen to our health system, and the services we provide to our patients and communities, if policymakers miscalculate that tipping point – if they cut beyond the point of effective, efficient healthcare."
Prior to being named Saint Clare's president and CEO, Hirsch served as the president and CEO of Touro Infirmary, a large hospital in the heart of New Orleans. He assumed the post just one week before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, and he shared that perspective during NJHA's meeting.
"I think there are many times, in the regular course of things, that we take for granted that our healthcare system will always be there, ready to take care of us no matter what," said Hirsch. "The public has become accustomed to our hospitals standing as their safety net, through power outages, through natural disasters and through funding cuts. But I can tell you, from personal experience: I've witnessed the unimaginable when that safety net, that beacon of comfort and security, is not able to care for its community. It's devastating, and it's something we must protect against."
Under Hirsch as board chair, the following officers also were appointed to the NJHA Board:
- Chair-elect Deborah K. Zastocki, DNP, RN, FACHE, of Randolph, president of Chilton Medical Center and vice president of Atlantic Health System
- Vice Chair John A. Brennan, MD, MPH, of Randolph, president and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children's Hospital of New Jersey and executive vice president of Barnabas Health
- Secretary Amy B. Mansue of Hightstown, president and CEO of Children's Specialized Hospital
- Treasurer Steven G. Littleson, FACHE, of Fair Haven, executive vice president of Meridian Health and president of Meridian Hospitals Corp.
The following healthcare leaders also were appointed as new board members:
Robin Walton of Burlington, Children's Specialized Hospital; Sister Patricia Codey of Morristown, St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center; Timothy Hogan of Red Bank, regional president, Monmouth County, Meridian Health System; Christopher Kosseff of Monroe Township, president and CEO of University Behavioral Health Care; and Paul J. Carniol, MD, of Summit, president of the Medical Society of New Jersey.
The New Jersey Hospital Association, based in Princeton, is the statewide advocate for its 108- member hospitals, its 300-plus post-acute members and the patients they serve.
SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)