PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New Jersey Hospital Association, the state's oldest and largest healthcare trade association, today held its annual awards program to honor several individuals and organizations for their commitment to the state's healthcare system and the patients and communities they serve.
The awards were presented during NJHA's 96th Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Princeton. The program included the presentation of the Healthcare Leader awards, which recognize the distinguished service of healthcare executives, trustees and clinicians, along with the Excellence in Quality Improvement Awards.
NJHA Healthcare Leader Awards
NJHA's 2015 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Joseph A. Trunfio, Ph.D., president and CEO of Atlantic Health System. For over 15 years, Dr. Trunfio has helped to orchestrate the growth of Atlantic Health System into one of the largest and most successful healthcare systems in New Jersey. He has provided visionary leadership, with Atlantic Health breaking new ground as a part of the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, as a member of AllSpire Health Partners and as a "Most Wired" organization for its embrace of health information technology.
Under Dr. Trunfio's leadership, Atlantic Health System has been recognized as a national leader in healthcare with numerous accolades, including being ranked among Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" for six consecutive years, making the top 25 of the list in 2014. Dr. Trunfio was recognized as one of the most powerful figures in the state by NJ Biz in its annual Power 100 and Power 50 Health Care lists.
The 2015 Healthcare Professional of the Year award was presented to Rameck Hunt, MD, a practicing physician and member of the internal medicine teaching faculty at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. Dr. Hunt was honored for his passion for community service and for devoting his career to teaching other aspiring doctors.
Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Hunt is credited with helping create The Three Doctors Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has offered over a decade of free health, education and mentoring programs for youth and families in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. He also works at the hospital's Bristol-Myers Squibb Community Health Center, which provides primary and specialty care to uninsured or underinsured residents.
The NJHA Hospital and Healthcare System Trustee of the Year awards were presented to Vincent Forlenza from The Valley Hospital and Anthony Chigounis from Virtua.
Vincent Forlenza has been a member of the Board of Trustees of The Valley Hospital since 2002. He served as its chairman from 2006 through 2013.
As a trustee and leader, Forlenza is known for his strategic planning, business operations, management skills and his dedication for giving back to the community. During Forlenza's tenure, The Valley Hospital celebrated many successes including being recognized by J.D. Power & Associates for Outstanding Patient Experience for 10 consecutive years and being recognized twice by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence.
Anthony Chigounis has made community service his life and is the longest-serving board member at Virtua.
He played an important role in the building of the new Virtua Voorhees replacement hospital and helped to create a Camden Health Information Exchange, which seamlessly shares patient information to improve continuity of care in underserved areas.
Between 2011 and 2013, Chigounis wore the mantle of chairman of the Board of Trustees. During his tenure as chairman, he was instrumental in creating the Virtua Diversity Committee with the goal of bringing accomplished community representatives with new ideas and talent to Virtua – allowing Virtua to realize its vision of serving the widest possible community.
NJHA Excellence in Quality Improvement Awards
NJHA, through its Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, also honored three institutions for Excellence in Quality Improvement, in recognition of healthcare organizations' tremendous advances in quality improvement and patient safety:
Inspira Healthcare Network, based in Mullica Hill, implemented its Inpatient Diabetes Education Classes to help patients who were being treated for another illness and had also received a diagnosis of diabetes. Thirty-day readmission rates for patients who participated in the classes decreased dramatically, and Inspira plans to offer the classes to all admitted diabetic patients, their families and caregivers.
WoodCrest Health Care Center in New Milford asked its staff to adopt several new behaviors in an effort to increase patient safety and satisfaction. Using the philosophy of "keep it simple, make it engaging and part of what we do every day," Woodcrest combined training with simple and sustained messaging. These changes yielded significant improvements with patient satisfaction increasing by 23 percent from 2013 through 2014.
Virtua, based in Voorhees, found that making the transition from the hospital to home as smooth as possible reduced the possibility of complications and readmissions. Virtua accomplished this by helping patients to become more engaged in managing their health through its Transition in Care program. The readmission rate was reduced to 17 percent along with an increase of patients seeing their physician within seven to 14 days of discharge from the hospital. Virtua now requires all nurses to participate in the Transitions in Care Program.
NJHA, based in Princeton, is a not-for-profit trade association that helps hospitals and other healthcare providers deliver quality, accessible and affordable healthcare. Its affiliates the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey and the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, also nonprofit, engage in programming and partnerships to improve healthcare quality and access.
SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA)