RWJBarnabas Health’s Arnold named board chair of NJHA

Bill Arnold, the Southern Region president for RWJBarnabas Health and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, was installed Thursday as the new chair of the board of the New Jersey Hospital Association.

Arnold was one of many board members who were announced during the group’s annual meeting in Princeton. Others include:

  • Mark Stauder, chief operating officer, Hackensack Meridian Health (vice chair);
  • Deb Visconi, CEO, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center(treasurer);
  • Robert Brenner, president, Valley Health System (secretary).

The following health care leaders were appointed to the board:

  • Sam Bayoumy, interim CEO, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation – West Orange;
  • James Demetriades, CEO, Penn Medicine Princeton Health;
  • Stephen Dumke, president, Christian Health;
  • Regina Foley, chief nursing officer and chief clinical transformation and integration officer, Hackensack Meridian Health;
  • Warren Geller, CEO, Englewood Health;
  • Trish O’Keefe, president, Morristown Medical Center, and chief nursing executive, Atlantic Health System.

The NJHA, founded in 1918, has 400 members spanning New Jersey’s health care community, including hospitals, health systems and post-acute care providers. Together, they share a commitment to improving the health of New Jerseyans.

But, it’s not easy.

Arnold assumes the chair’s role at a time when hospitals are facing an array of challenges, including addressing historic workforce shortages, sustaining financial stability and meeting rising needs for health care services in New Jersey. NJHA provides a platform for collaboration and the unified purpose needed to make headway as our health care landscape evolves, Arnold said.

Cathy Bennett. (File photo)

“NJHA, led by (CEO) Cathy Bennett and her team, tirelessly advocates for our industry so we can provide the best service and address issues that impact our communities as barriers to health,” Arnold said. “Building on the legacy of people who have served before me, many of whom I consider mentors, I am honored to serve in this role and work to make sure New Jersey sets the standard for addressing the critical shortage of health care professionals by protecting our current workforce, investing in a pipeline for new professionals and partnering to ensure these actions are sustained.”

In her remarks to members, Bennett cited a list of factors that are transforming health care, including the impact of artificial intelligence, breakthrough drugs with high price tags, the deepening demand for mental health care and patients with increasingly complex health needs. But two critical issues loom above them all, said Bennett.

“The work we do has never been more important — nor more imperiled,” she said. “Hospitals anchor their communities with quality care, economic opportunity and community health investments. Our attention is focused on two priorities that are essential to every aspect of health care: creating real solutions to the historic workforce shortage and protecting the financial stability of our systems of care.”

Arnold, who succeeds 2023 board Chair Edward Condit, CEO of St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic, said the group has real impact.

“NJHA has a proven track record of success through collaboration around urgent issues,” he said. “As we mark Maternal Health Awareness this week, we can credit NJHA and leaders in this room for engaging with birthing hospitals statewide to support the implementation of evidence-based, data-driven quality improvement strategies that are improving maternal health outcomes.

“Our work matters for the people of New Jersey.”