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New Jersey
Holy Name Physician Works on End-of-Life Care Project
Story Number is : 070217120
Holy Name Medical Center

Dr. John Poole, a general surgeon and Vice President of the Medical Executive Committee at Holy Name Medical Center, recently completed the New Jersey Healthcare Executive Leadership Academy, a joint initiative between the Medical Society of New Jersey, the New Jersey Hospital Association and the New Jersey Association of Health Plans.During the program, leaders in the healthcare field focused on improving care at the end of life, a measure in which New Jersey consistently ranks the poorest in outcomes.

For many New Jersey residents, the last six months to one year of life are spent enduring invasive treatments at astronomical costs. A large number of terminal patients are kept alive, regardless of the quality of life, at a large human and financial cost.

To address this plight, leaders from the three industries came together to talk about the issue from their own perspective and create a project that could be used to help patients be more comfortable in their last days, weeks and even months. They attended two retreats, four 4-hour in-person seminars and five online sessions to create the plans that are being presented at a reception on Friday, June 23.

“Holy Name’s mission is about providing the highest quality care in a compassionate manner, making our patients feel comfortable at all times,” said Michael Maron, President and CEO of Holy Name. “In order to successfully address some of these vital healthcare issues, we have to work together and this joint effort is an important first step.”

Dr. Poole was nominated by the Medical Society of New Jersey to be part of this inaugural Leadership Academy and found the program to be “really valuable and one of the best projects I’ve been involved in,” he said.

"End of life care in New Jersey tends to be too focused on keeping patients alive at any cost, regardless of their quality of life, too fragmented and too expensive,” Dr. Poole said. “Hospitalizations, including stays in the intensive care unit are way too over-utilized, and hospice care and palliative care are way too under-utilized, leading to poorer outcomes and greater costs.”

Participants in the academy have experience and responsibility for programs or clinical outcomes for patients approaching the end of life.

“This program provides participants with an opportunity to understand the unique perspective each brings to solving healthcare issues,” said Larry Downs, CEO of the Medical Society.

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