PRINCETON, Jan. 19, 2018 /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 99th Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, which kicked off NJHA's centennial year. 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 and Community Outreach Awards.
NJHA Healthcare Leader Awards
NJHA's 2018 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Michael R. D'Agnes, of East Brunswick, president and CEO of Raritan Bay Medical Center, part of Hackensack Meridian Health.
D'Agnes began his career in 1978 as the vice president of finance at The Medical Center of Princeton (now Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center). He has held leadership positions at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, served as CEO at Bayonne Healthcare System, now part of CarePoint Health, and most recently CEO of Raritan Bay Medical Center.
D'Agnes served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of NJHA during a time of great change from 2006 to 2008, and led the transition to new leadership under Betsy Ryan during his term.
Under D'Agnes' leadership, Raritan Bay received a variety of organizational accolades and patient care quality designations, launched new patient-focused services, opened the Medical and Surgical Pavilion at Raritan Bay-Old Bridge and guided the medical center to a merger with Meridian Health (now Hackensack Meridian Health) in 2016.
The 2018 Healthcare Professional of the Year award was presented to Broadway House Medical Director Rodolfo Munera, MD. Broadway House for Continuing Care is New Jersey's only specialized care facility for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Munera is responsible for resident care policies and medical care, administrative duties, standards and criteria for care and performance, discharge planning, liaison with families and residents, serving on multiple committees, and a number of other important care functions. Since 2001, he has gone above and beyond his normal duties to best serve Broadway House residents. Staff, residents and families all acknowledge his sincerity, respect and compassion.
The NJHA Hospital and Healthcare System Trustee of the Year awards were presented to Victor M. Richel, from Trinitas Regional Medical Center and Trinitas Health, and John F. Vigorita, MD, from Atlantic Health System.
Richel is a banking executive, philanthropist and community volunteer serving currently as the chairman of the Board of Trinitas Regional Medical Center and its parent, Trinitas Health. He holds the distinction of being the only person to serve on the Boards of the three Elizabeth hospitals.
Richel's service to goes back more than 30 years, to when he became a member of the Board of Alexian Brothers Hospital. When the Alexian Order in Chicago announced it was divesting the Elizabeth hospital, Elizabeth General Medical Center entered into negotiations to acquire the facility in 1990. He was central to those negotiations.
A decade later, while on the Board of Elizabeth General Medical Center, he was again central to the discussions that led to the merger of Elizabeth General and St. Elizabeth Hospital, which created Trinitas Regional Medical Center in January 2000.
Vigorita, MD, MHA, has made a significant impact on the delivery of care and the growth and development of Atlantic Health System during his two tenures on the Board of Trustees – currently as well as from 2007 to 2009. As a caring pediatrician, Dr. Vigorita has been a fixture in Union County and Overlook Medical Center.
Dr. Vigorita helped guide strategic growth at Overlook through multiple leadership roles including membership on the Medical Executive Committee, chair of the Performance Improvement Committee and as president of the Overlook medical staff, where he developed a strategy of targeted physician recruitment to position the organization for sustained growth.
As an Atlantic Health System board member, Dr. Vigorita has a passion for healthcare quality and end-of-life care. He is currently the vice president of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Medical Quality and served as chair of Atlantic Health's Bioethics Oversight committee from 2008 to 2015.
NJHA Excellence in Quality Improvement Awards
NJHA, through its Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, also honored three acute care hospitals and one post-acute provider for Excellence in Quality Improvement, in recognition of the healthcare organization's tremendous advances in quality improvement and patient safety:
Virtua, based in Washington Township, implemented three low-technology programs to markedly reduce the occurrence of hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infection. The Infection Preventionists at the three Virtua hospitals put a limitation on prescribing the antibiotic fluoroquinolone, created a "bundle" of C. diff education that was distributed to staff, and at the hospital with the highest infection rates instituted mattress covers in targeted units.
The three low-tech interventions proved to lower rates of hospital-onset C. diff infections by 32 percent across the system, and by 55 percent in the location with the highest initial rates.
Virtua Home Care implemented education programs for staff, patients and family care-givers to reduce the instances of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). While there are many guides to preventing and measuring CAUTIs in acute care and residential care settings, there has been little in the way of CAUTI prevention and monitoring for the home care setting.
In the year following establishing home care-specific CAUTI education and measurement, the incidence of the infection decreased nearly 92 percent, and for the first three quarters of 2017, Virtua Home Care reported no CAUTIs.
HRET Community Outreach Awards
NJHA and its Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey recognize organizations that identify community needs and implement programs to serve those needs. These programs are just a few examples of the more than $2.75 billion in community benefits that New Jersey hospitals provide annually. The 2018 awards recognized achievements in the following categories: enhancing access and quality of care to reduce disparities; improving nutrition and wellbeing; and preventing disease and injury.
In the category of enhancing access and quality of care to reduce disparities, HeroCare Connect is a first-in-the-nation collaborative project between two hospitals – Deborah Heart and Lung Center and Cooper University Health Care – to provide specialty medical services to active military, military retirees, veterans, National Guardsmen and family members of all military associated with the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL).
Deborah and Cooper have stepped in to fill the gap to address the acute and chronic care needs. A dedicated staff personally handles every appointment request and turn those appointments around within 48 hours. They work from a call center at Deborah, and have a wealth of resources for additional services veterans may need, including PTSD counseling, mental health or substance use issues. In less than a year, the program has scheduled more than 1,200 appointments for the more than 44,000 servicemen and women who live and work at JB MDL.
In the category of improving nutrition and wellbeing, St. Peter's University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital have partnered under the banner of Healthy Middlesex to develop evidence-based camp curriculums, activities and policies to maintain the healthy habits and education that occurs during the school year.
In Middlesex County, there are an estimated 135,000 school-aged children who may not receive any health messaging for three months out of every year, including approximately 34,000 children are overweight or obese. Healthy Kids Camp brings together a diverse array of service and summer camp providers to design, develop, implement and evaluate health behavior programming and policy. The program now has six summer camps and reached more than 1,000 Middlesex County kids in 2017.
In the category of preventing disease and injury, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital partnered with the AVON foundation and local resources to decrease the amount of stigma related to domestic and sexual violence in the Latino community. The No Mas Violencia: Addressing Domestic & Sexual Violence in the Latino Community program was established in 2015.
RWJUH developed a three-tier strategy to increase awareness of intimate violence and to change the attitudes toward talking about such a personal issue. Free culturally and linguistically appropriate workshops for all Latinas in locations connected to the community were offered; education sessions for patient-facing providers and lay people who interact with Latinas regularly had more than 300 attendees; and a public awareness campaign, including seven No Mas public service announcement videos, was unveiled during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
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)