Jan. 18, 2019: NJHA Presents Annual ‘Healthcare Leader’ Awards

PRINCETON – 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 100th Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, which closed 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 2019 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. David Condoluci, DO, MACOI, of Moorestown, senior vice president and chief patient safety and quality officer of Jefferson Health New Jersey. 

Dr. Condoluci has been a vital part of the New Jersey healthcare community for more than 35 years. He has worked tirelessly to raise the bar on patient safety and is a nationally honored proponent of sepsis detection and care. His passion and commitment toward reducing the number of sepsis-related deaths at what was then Kennedy Health resulted in a beyond-impressive sepsis prevention and detection program. 

“Dr. Condo,” as he is affectionately known, is a renowned infectious diseases specialist. He has shown unfailing compassion and commitment to people with HIV/AIDS since the 1980s, and was a founding member of the N.J. Society of Infectious Diseases and the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey.

Dr. Condoluci also leads NJHA’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Learning Action Collaborative, which actively promotes the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents to improve quality of patient care, patient safety and preserve the effectiveness of the treatments for generations to come. 

The 2019 Healthcare Professional of the Year award was presented to Dr. Geralyn Prosswimmer, of Raritan Township, chief medical officer of Hunterdon Healthcare Partners, part of the Hunterdon Healthcare System. 

Dr. Prosswimmer has had a direct impact on the health of Hunterdon County’s entire population since she joined Hunterdon Pediatric Associates in 1987. Since then, she has developed opioid and benzodiazepine prescribing dashboards to raise awareness with providers about prescribing habits and provide data on patients using controlled substances, controlled substance agreements and the use-of-risk tools to tackle the opioid epidemic head-on. 

Dr. Prosswimmer has also championed the development of compassionate end-of-life care conversation tools, incorporating behavioral health tools into primary care and the commitment to the Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care delivery. 

The NJHA Hospital and Healthcare System Trustee of the Year awards were presented to Wilfredo Fernandez, of East Hanover, from St. Joseph’s Health, and Robert E. Mulcahy III, of Basking Ridge, emeritus board member of Atlantic Health System. 

Fernandez has been a board member with the St. Joseph’s Health organization for 20 years. He has served as a loyal steward of the St. Joseph’s mission values and strategic assets, offering his exceptional professional talents and insight with an eye toward serving the poor and vulnerable of the surrounding communities. 

He first joined the health system in 1998 as a member of the Wayne General Board of Trustees. As a certified public account and partner at Citrin Cooperman, Fernandez’s finance and business acumen would prove to be invaluable in helping the hospital maintain services and sustain jobs during times of struggle. Recognizing his exceptional dedication and leadership, Fernandez was invited to join the St. Joseph’s Board of Trustees when Wayne General joined the Paterson-based health system. 

Mulcahy III served on the board at Atlantic Health System from 2004 through 2017. As the retired director of Athletics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports Exposition and Authority, Mulcahy used his deep business knowledge and acumen to help make healthcare more accessible in northern New Jersey.

During his tenure on Atlantic Health System’s board, he served on the Governance Committee and the Medical Staff Leadership & Development Committee. As a board member, he had a singular focus on quality, whether it be in the area of patient safety, program offerings or the financial health of the organization. He viewed much of what came to the board through the eyes of the patient and was always a vocal advocate for patients.

NJHA Excellence in Quality Improvement Awards

NJHA, through its Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, also honored one acute care hospital 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: 

Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, developed and implemented a program to prevent or reduce readmissions after experiencing a high readmission rate for patients with the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.

The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Discharge Bundle is centered around education, proactive physician follow-up and self-management of COPD. The program was developed by a multidisciplinary team that created a cost-effective, easy-to-replicate discharge bundle to standardize the care of the patient with COPD.

A total of 371 patients were included in the program, and for those who received the new protocol, the 30-day readmission rate was decreased by more than 10 percent. Sixty and 90-day readmission rates were also lowered by 25 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

A shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) threatened The Manor Health and Rehabilitation Center’s ability to support its staff. With a mission to improve the quality of life of its residents, The Manor knew it needed to start by improving the quality of life of its staff.

Tapping into the abilities and dedication of its nonclinical staff, the Administrative Certified Nursing Assistant Program at The Manor at CentraState Medical Center trains nonclinical support staff to work clinically. This innovative, resident-centric solution benefits clinical staff, administrative staff and residents, and it has improved response times and enabled traditional CNAs to spend more quality time at the bedside, promoting resident improvement and independence. 

Administrative staff completed certified nursing assistant training and began supporting CNAs through delivering morning meals; assisting residents with eating, dressing and morning care; walking programs; and other activities of daily living.

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 $2.9 billion in community benefits that New Jersey hospitals provide annually. The 2019 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, Inspira Health Network is a founding partner and supporter of the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative (CCHFC). The CCHFC is one of two programs administered by the “M25 Initiative,” a nonprofit collaboration between community-based housing, healthcare, social services, faith-based and philanthropic organizations. 

Current assistance structures for the homeless often preclude supportive housing for patients in which substance abuse, criminal history or mental illness are a contributing factor. CCHFC seeks not only to provide stable and sustainable no- or low-cost housing but also offer “wrap-around” services including mental healthcare, case management, social services and medical care. It specifically targets “super-consumers” of services typically associated with chronic homelessness such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), hospital admission and incarceration. 

To date, 50 individuals have been connected to supportive housing through this program and within this initial population, incarceration has been eliminated, use of EMS has decreased by 75 percent and hospital admissions have decreased by 34 percent. 

In the category of improving nutrition and wellbeing, Virtua’s Mobile Farmer’s Markets serves as a public health program using “food as medicine” to drive favorable health outcomes. By integrating nutrition counseling and coaching into the program, a registered dietician who rides with the bus daily builds lasting relationships with market shoppers to help address their health needs and foster lifelong learning habits. 

The Virtua Mobile Farmers Market served nearly 8,000 families in 2017 and exceeded 9,000 families in 2018. More than 40,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables have been distributed in 2018, with the most popular item being a large size bag which includes 17-18 pieces of produce and provides a family of four one week’s worth of produce and sells for $8.00. 

In the category of preventing disease and injury, the Peer Recovery Program at RWJBarnabas Health fully addresses the chronic disease of addiction by linking individuals with substance use disorder to the appropriate level of care and provide peer-based recovery support and clinical case management. 

Following the results of a clinical screening, a peer recovery specialist provides care at a patient’s bedside, providing a peer intervention and opening a window to recovery. Peer recovery specialists are integrated into the patient care team, working side-by-side with doctors, nurses and social workers at every RWJBarnabas Health affiliated hospitals. All RWJBarnabas Health peer recovery specialists are required to be in recovery themselves for a minimum of four years, having battled substance use disorder and living in active recovery every day. 

The program serves individuals with substance use disorder in Hudson, Essex, Union, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties 24/7. Since its initial launch, Peer Recovery Specialists have cared for more than 3,400 patients in hospitals across the state. In the first quarter of 2018, Peer Recovery Specialists provided care to 767 patients:  97 percent accepted bedside services from a Peer Recovery Specialist and 82 percent accepted recovery support services.

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.