Princeton House President Celebrates 25 Years of Growth in Services, Specialty Programs, and Patient Satisfaction
Nov 5, 2015
Princeton House Behavioral Health opened a new location in Eatontown (pictured above) this spring—the organization's sixth outpatient center in central and southern New Jersey. Together, the six centers record 90,000 outpatient visits each year.
—When Richard Wohl joined Princeton House Behavioral Health in 1990, it had a single location serving 20 patients. Yet Mr. Wohl envisioned a continuum of care that would extend outward from the psychiatric hospital's inpatient facility and reach into the community with partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs.
This fall, as Princeton House Behavioral Health celebrates Mr. Wohl's 25 years as its steward and first President, that vision has been fulfilled-and continues growing. Princeton House now encompasses seven locations throughout central and southern New Jersey. With a combined operating budget of $65 million and multidisciplinary staff of 700, Princeton House admits 3,800 inpatients and 5,000 outpatients and records 90,000 outpatient visits annually.
Mr. Wohl has led a remarkable expansion and diversification of services. During his tenure, Princeton House experienced unprecedented growth from its main campus in Princeton—which now houses the inpatient hospital, two outpatient facilities, and a modern ECT suite-to its significant outpatient centers in Hamilton, North Brunswick, Moorestown, and Eatontown.
As Senior Vice President for Princeton HealthCare System, Mr. Wohl also oversees all behavioral health care at University Medical Center of Princeton, including the 22-bed Center for Eating Disorders Care, a six-room psychiatric emergency center, and consultation/liaison and telepsychiatry services. He has been instrumental in improving integrated behavioral care with the medical services offered within Princeton House's inpatient unit and at University Medical Center of Princeton.
Responding with Innovation
Patients come to Princeton House from all over the region for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, addiction, and co-occurring disorders. Responding to a steady demand, Princeton House has established specialty programs over the past decade for women, children, young adults, first responders, teen girls, seniors, and men experiencing past trauma.
"We have always listened to what our patients tell us they want, and we have defined what efforts are needed to treat patients holistically with evidence-based therapies," notes Mr. Wohl, who completed his MSW and MBA degrees at Temple University. "Patient satisfaction with our services is now woven within our culture."
This year, Princeton House's patient satisfaction scores achieved a 25-year high mark, with a top 1 percent ranking for inpatient care, inpatient detoxification, physician services, and nutrition services, as compared to 64 freestanding psychiatric hospitals in the United States that participate with Press Ganey.
Committed to extensive professional development and education for all staff, Princeton House is one of only nine behavioral health organizations in New Jersey to offer a one-year doctoral psychology internship program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association. For the last 18 years, local and national experts have presented biweekly Grand Rounds on a variety of clinical topics.
As Mr. Wohl begins his 26th year at Princeton House, behavioral health care faces increasing challenges resulting from a complex health care industry, insurance and regulatory issues, and the current epidemic of opiate addictions. In response to the latter, Princeton House expanded its Young Adult Program in 2014 with an inpatient program for men and women ages 18 through mid-20s—those at the epicenter of the epidemic. Princeton House staff members regularly reach out into the community, providing free lectures and live web chats focusing on behavioral health care topics, including opiate abuse.
There is also much progress to acknowledge, as recent clinical research has yielded new discoveries about the brain and the long-held stigma of discussing or seeking behavioral health care continues to steadily diminish.
"We can parallel this social awakening with what happened with cancer awareness in the 1960s, when people did not openly discuss their diagnosis," notes Mr. Wohl. "Today, almost everyone knows someone who struggles with behavioral health issues so I anticipate an inevitable drift toward seeking treatment and discussing it without negative overtones."
Mr. Wohl sees each day as a new opportunity to help someone: "I'm a social worker at heart. Although I don't see patients individually any more, the successes of Princeton House Behavioral Health with our many patients, as fulfilled by an extraordinary and committed staff, are beyond anything I could have ever accomplished myself. We are in an excellent position to stay strong in today's complex health care environment and to continue to treat those who seek our help."
About Princeton HealthCare System
Princeton HealthCare System is a comprehensive, integrated healthcare system that strives to anticipate and serve the lifelong needs of central New Jersey residents, including acute care hospital services through University Medical Center of Princeton, behavioral healthcare through Princeton House Behavioral Health, rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, ambulatory surgery, a primary and specialty medical practice, and fitness and wellness services. For more information, visit www.princetonhcs.org.
Andy Williams, 609-252-8785