Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital was one of two hospitals nationwide to earn the 2015 Equity of Care Award — an award based on health care diversity and inclusion — from the American Hospital Association.The award is presented annually to hospitals or care systems that are noteworthy leaders and examples to the field in the area of equitable care, demonstrating a high level of success in reducing health care disparities and promoting diversity in leadership and staff within their organization.
Stephen K. Jones, the chief executive officer and president of the hospital and the Robert Wood Johnson Health System, said the award is a great example of how the hospital practices what it preaches in terms of health care.
“With our efforts expanding throughout the Robert Wood Johnson Health System, we are even more committed to living diversity as a value — modeling it internally, among our employees and patients — and externally,” he said in a statement. “As RWJUH and the RWJ Health System become part of the national discussion for diversity and inclusion in health care, it gives us more opportunity to gain momentum and make an even bigger impact. We could not have achieved this without our employees’ invaluable contributions, so we can all be proud of this recognition from the AHA.”
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Ryan Parker, an assistant vice president and the chief diversity officer of the hospital, said the award demonstrates the employees’ commitment to the concept.
“It showcases that every individual in our organization understands that everyone deserves a fair chance to lead a healthy life and is committed to helping our patients and neighbors in the diverse communities that we serve achieve that,” he said in a statement. “Receiving this award is a true testimony of our employees’ and leaders’ commitment to embrace and operationalize diversity and inclusion, as we work to improve the health and wellness of all populations under the Triple Aim model.”
The hospital was recognized for its commitment to addressing health inequities through its REAL Data Integrity LEAN Six Sigma Project, the release said.
The hospital said identifying opportunities for improved care has resulted in an increased use of interpreter services and an associated decrease in hospital readmissions, specifically heart failure, by 30 percent. In addition, the release said, the hospital looked at transitional care for low-income patients to close the gap between patient discharge and follow-up visit to a primary care physician. The hospital’s efforts resulted in a reduction of its overall 30-day readmission rate from 13 percent in 2013 to 5 percent in 2014.
The Henry Ford Health System in Detroit also was honored.
Rich Umbdenstock, the CEO and president of the AHA, lauded both hospitals for their efforts.
“These hospitals are a testament to the tremendous efforts underway to eliminate health care disparities and promote diversity at the local and national level,” he said in a statement. “The honorees represent what can be achieved to ensure care is provided equitably to all and signifies where we, as a health care field, should strive.”
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