Steady Leadership In Challenging Times Alden Welch Ends Board Chair Term
January 19, 2009
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NEWTON – Rev. Dr. Alden Welch, a retired pastor, recently ended his two-year term as chairman of the North Jersey Health Care Corporation’s Board of Directors.
North Jersey Health Care Corporation is the parent company of Newton Memorial Hospital.
By coincidence, Dr. Welch’s chairmanship came at a time when Newton Memorial Hospital experienced its most challenging economic times in recent memory related to major cuts in reimbursement for behavioral medicine, rehabilitation and charity care services. Still, the Hospital was able to maintain its reputation for providing quality care close to home from physicians the community knows and can trust.
“Dr. Welch provided the type of steady leadership the Hospital needed at a time of almost unprecedented challenges,” said Newton Memorial Hospital President and CEO Tom Senker. “The Board continued to move forward on vital quality initiatives which have allowed the Hospital to remain at the forefront of providing highly specialized care to this community.”
Over his tenure, Newton Memorial Hospital received state and national recognition for patient safety and quality and brought the Hospital’s Information Technology system into the 21st Century by creating a system that makes medical records almost fully electronic. Hospital staff has improved patient care by reducing and/or eliminating bed sores and ventilator-assisted pneumonia and reducing its length of inpatient stay to perhaps the lowest in New Jersey.
Through collaboration’s across the Hospital system, the Hospital met the rigorous standards to receive state designation as a Primary Stroke Center, making it the only Hospital in Sussex and Warren counties to be so recognized. In addition, Newton Memorial Hospital is among the most efficient in the state, ranking in the top decile.
Even Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey honored Newton Memorial Hospital with its premiere quality award for the Hospital’s efficiency and quality.
“It is the excellent care provided throughout the organization, including in the Emergency Room, at the bedside, in the Operating Room, and at our Health and Wellness Centers, that is my greatest source of satisfaction and pride as outgoing Board Chairman,” Dr. Welch said.
Dr. Welch is equally proud of the Board’s ability to continue to advance the Strategic Plan it adopted a few years ago. Despite the current economy, he said the Board remains optimistic about the future and plans to bring additional services to the region so people can continue to receive quality care close to home. This includes upgrading and expanding our inpatient facilities as well as increasing access to care by developing an additional Health and Wellness Center in northern Sussex County.
“We will continue to upgrade, modernize and expand the Hospital itself, continuing to transform Newton Memorial into a regional medical center that provides the best of 21st Century care,” he said. “Recruiting and retaining outstanding physicians and specialists to provide that care also remains a high priority.”
“Our goal is not to become a large teaching or research hospital or trauma center but to be a world-class community hospital that can take care of our patients’ acute care needs.”
Dr. Welch will continue as member of the North Jersey Health Care Corporation’s Board of Directors. He also is chairman of the Board of Directors at Bristol Glen. As a retired Methodist pastor, he continues to fill in at churches as needed and remains active by working as a state track-and-field official.
In a final note, Dr. Welch added, “I would just like to personally thank our medical staff, nurses and other healthcare workers for allowing the Hospital to provide quality, patient-centered, cost-effective care. By any measure, Newton Memorial Hospital provides wonderful medical care and I have been proud to chair this board over the last two years.”