Hackensack Meridian Health’s Joseph Miller Named Council Chair of American Hospital Association Constituency Section for Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services

February 6, 2019

Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most integrated health network, is proud to announce that Joseph A. Miller, Ph.D., FACHE, vice president for Behavioral Health Care Transformation Services, is the 2019 chair of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Constituency Section for Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services. He served as chair-elect in 2018.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is thrilled to see Dr. Miller assume the chairmanship of AHA’s Constituency Section for Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Our network has made an unwavering commitment to transform behavioral health services. Thanks to Dr. Miller’s leadership, we are changing the game in treating addiction and mental illness.”

The Council represents about 1,660 behavioral health providers across the country. Dr. Miller will work in partnership with Council Chair-Elect Raymond Waller, director/administrator for Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery in Brighton, Michigan. The Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services Council advises AHA on policy and advocacy activities and provides a forum for strategic discussion of issues important to behavioral health providers and the field as a whole.

“The American Hospital Association values and looks forward to Dr. Miller’s leadership of the 18-member advisory Council,” said Rebecca Chickey, MPH, director of field engagement for the Section for Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services of the American Hospital Association. “Under his guidance, the Council’s strategic discussions will help shape the future of access, coverage and delivery of behavioral health across the country.”

“It is such an honor to serve as chair of the most prestigious group of behavioral health care leaders, hospitals and health systems in the nation,” said Dr. Miller.  “There has probably never been a more transformative time for behavioral health and substance use disorder care in our country’s health care history, and I am proud to be on the front line to advocate on behalf of behavioral health issues.”

Dr. Miller is a nationally-recognized behavioral health expert with more than three decades of experience as a clinician, educator and leader. He currently serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University and is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. In 2011, he was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health Facilities by Governor Chris Christie. The task force was charged with making recommendations regarding the future use of State Psychiatric Hospitals as part of the larger State Mental Health network. Dr. Miller has made frequent visits to Capitol Hill and the New Jersey Statehouse to meet with congressional and state leaders to discuss issues related to behavioral health and offer testimony on key pieces of legislation. In 2002, Dr. Miller led a team that developed and implemented a regional trauma counseling response in and around the World Trade Center site following the September 11th attacks on New York City. The team was the recipient of the Eli Lilly/Comprehensive Neuroscience Award for Community Response as a result.

“Dr. Miller is one of the finest behavioral health leaders in our field,” said Don Parker, president, Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic. “His work has helped advance our efforts to create expanded, enhanced and innovative behavioral health services to residents across our region.”

Under Dr. Miller’s leadership, Hackensack Meridian Health has made major advances in improving behavioral health care in New Jersey. Dr. Miller served as a lead participant in the historic merger between Hackensack Meridian Health and The Carrier Clinic, a renowned not-for-profit Psychiatric Hospital that will significantly enhance the behavioral health landscape regionally. The merger will enhance care across the state including the opening of new addiction treatment centers, along with New Jersey’s first urgent care centers.

Mental health and substance use disorders is on the rise across the country, with an estimated 50 percent of all Americans diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. In New Jersey, over 600,000 people were diagnosed with a mental health or substance use disorder in 2016. About half of the increase in emergency department visits in New Jersey were related to behavioral health issues. The state is facing an opioid epidemic that claimed approximately 3,000 lives in 2018, and that number is expected to increase in 2019.

To combat this rising health care challenge, Hackensack Meridian Health is addressing the shortage of psychiatrists, especially for children and adolescents. That is why the network is adding 37 inpatient beds to its 150-bed capacity and maintains robust psychiatric outpatient services. Additionally, the network started two new psychiatry residency programs this past year with 10 physicians kicking off the four-year residency program. A child psychiatry fellowship program is slated to start in 2020. There will also be a new child adolescent psychiatry fellowship.

Further, with the opening of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, patients have access to nationally recognized experts in psychiatry, behavioral health, integrative medicine and addiction treatment who are on the faculty of the medical school, as well as enhance research to improve behavioral health care.

“Behavioral health is finally in the spotlight because people are beginning to understand the critical role it plays in general health. Mental illness no longer a big secret, and hopefully it will no longer be such a stigmatizing disease as it has been in the past,” added Dr. Miller.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals – JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 34,100 team members, and 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four hospitals among the top 10 in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2018” list.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.