Hallmark Health System Community Benefits Programs
Hallmark Health System is committed to improving the quality of healthcare we provide to residents, in our hospitals, medical centers, and in community settings. We also welcome the opportunity to promote the health and well-being of our communities and to identify and assist those residents that are most in need; especially vulnerable residents with complex health needs and social, economic, and environmental disadvantages. From the front door of our hospitals and health centers to the frontline in the community, we remain confident and steadfast in our commitment to changing the face of healthcare to best serve the residents of our service area.
Hallmark Health System is in the process of collecting primary and secondary data to identify the health care needs of the communities we serve and to help people gain the tools and knowledge they need to make healthy choices and lead healthy lives. In addition to a wide variety of programs focusing on basic health concerns, we also offer creative approaches targeting the specific health concerns of some of our most vulnerable populations.
During 2012 and 2013, Hallmark Health System’s (HHS) Community Services Department undertook a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process with support from the Institute for Community Health. The goal of this assessment was to better understand the needs and assets of the communities in Hallmark Health System’s service catchment area. The assessment will guide HHS's community benefits planning and its efforts over the next three years to identify and address gaps in community needs. The assessment process meets the dual requirements of the Internal Revenue Service, United States Treasury Department and Community Benefits guidelines for acute care hospitals set forth by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.
The CHNA uses a mixed-methods approach, looking at a variety of health topic areas and social factors across the area. This includes review of secondary community health data across a variety of socio-demographic, youth and health indicators; interviews with 18 key community leaders and stakeholders, asking about top health concerns and vulnerable populations, community assets and resources and analysis of 387 community surveys completed by area residents, collecting information about health concerns, behaviors and needs. Also included in the assessment is a review of assets and resources across the area and the perspectives of medically underserved community members and stakeholders with public health expertise.
Community Benefits Needs Assessment Executive Summary and Final Report
Bound copies of the CHNA are available for review by request of the public at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, as well at HHS locations in Malden, Medford, Reading and Stoneham.
Please complete our Community Health Survey. Any personal information you share will be kept confidential. Your feedback is very important in helping us to plan future programs that best meet the needs of the community.
Please answer the questions as best as you can. Your answers are anonymous. If there are any questions you don’t want to answer, you can leave them blank.
Translated Community Health Surveys
Hallmark Health System Community Benefits Mission Statement
Hallmark Health System, Inc. is committed to building and sustaining a strong, vibrant and healthy community. Hallmark Health dedicates appropriate resources to collaborations with community partners and the utilization of community member’s input toward improving health services. Hallmark Health pledges to act as a resource and to work with the community during emergencies; improve access to care; identify, monitor, and address the unique health care needs within its core communities; and promote healthier lifestyles for residents through health education and prevention activities
“Connecting and Caring for New Mothers”. This MiniGrant project is funded through the Northwest Suburban Health Alliance/ CHNA 15 DoN funds from Lahey Clinic.
The primary areas of focus and the target populations for the Community Benefits Plan are detailed below:
- Residents managing behavioral health issues and substance use including depression, anxiety, co-occurring substance use disorders, and serious and persistent mental illness. This will include a focus on access to care issues, integration of behavioral health and primary care, preventive mental health and a particular emphasis on the geriatric population and their families/caregivers.
- Community members at risk for developing cancer or being treated for cancer, with a focus on lung, colorectal, oral, head and neck, breast and skin cancers.
- Residents at risk for developing cardiovascular disease or those experiencing health issues due to undiagnosed or poorly understood cardiovascular risks, including those at risk for developing Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or for suffering a stroke.
- Men, women, and children with weight management issues, with specific focus on obesity prevention for adults and children.
- Community members at risk for developing diabetes or with diabetes management issues.
- Residents needing access to healthcare especially focused on uninsured or underserved residents of our core communities. This includes recruitment, education and training of nurses, physicians, other practitioners and community volunteers needed to care for these populations, as well as appropriate research to enhance access to health care and improve health services.
- Vulnerable populations needing services; such as families with children/adolescents at risk due to poverty, isolation, language or cultural barriers, domestic violence, access to care issues, or lack of skills to navigate the health care system, lack of early prenatal care or those in need of developing parenting skills. This includes mother/infant programming and reproductive health.
- Residents impacted by Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
- Men, women and children at risk for developing bone and joint injuries or disease, with a focus on injury prevention for all ages, specifically falls prevention, arthritis and osteoporosis prevention and detection and prevention of sports injuries- including head injury in youth.
- Residents impacted by Respiratory Health issues such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- Residents impacted by Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence.
- The community at-large to be prepared for disasters and emergencies, both natural and man-made, such as seasonal and pandemic flu or accidents involving large numbers of victims.
Highlights and Outcomes of Key Community Benefits Activities
Supporting Health Care Reform:
Despite the success of health reform in Massachusetts, there are still residents that do not have health insurance for a variety of reasons. Virtually all elders are covered by the Medicare Program, but there are still adults and children that are uninsured, and many residents forego health care services due to high co-payments and deductibles. Based on a March 2013 study published by the Urban Institute and The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts, many of the uninsured are living in families with income below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. Most will be eligible for Medicaid or subsidized coverage under changes associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. These uninsured individuals are younger adults, males, Hispanics, and those with language and perhaps literacy issues. Another important group is low-income uninsured workers that are not currently eligible for Commonwealth Care because of the offer of coverage through their employer; but also not able to realistically afford the coverage offered through their workplace. In our service area it is estimated that there over 12,000 adults and 900 children without coverage.
In 2012, Hallmark Health Financial Counselors completed 2,251 applications for individuals in the state health programs; such as Mass Health programs, Commonwealth Care, Children’s Medical Security Plan, Healthy Start and the Health Safety Net. This does not include interactions that did not result in an application. Hallmark Health System Financial Navigators also helped patients to enroll in SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and other social service programs. In addition, these Navigators attended more than twenty (20) community outreach events to assist participants and provide enrollment information. Other services provided to residents include advocating for residents, making appointments, and procuring other services such as providing information about the Mobile Food Market. Billing and collections practices are also posted on the system web site.
Another important component of supporting health reform was the need to educate and train high quality professionals to deliver health care. In 2012, Hallmark Health System continued to operate the Lawrence Memorial/Regis College School of Nursing and Radiography Programs. Continuing medical education was offered to physicians, nurses and other health professions, and community members; many of these sessions focused on topics related to the target populations.
Mentoring opportunities were made available for high school students, nursing students and other health professionals from a variety of colleges and high schools, offering the chance for young adults to explore health care as a career option, or to train as nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, physical therapists and in other health professions.
Reducing Health Disparities:
Massachusetts residents of color face disproportionately higher rates of morbidity and mortality than residents of the state as a whole. Health disparities exist in racial and ethnic groups, in the gay, lesbian and transgender populations, for the chronically mentally ill, for the developmentally and physically handicapped, and through the impact of poverty; especially for children and the elderly.
Over that past few years, Hallmark Health System has made a concerted effort to reach out to organizations that have had success in reaching residents impacted by health disparities. Hallmark Health System has strengthened its role at the Community Health Network Areas (CHNA 15 and 16), acting both in leader and member roles. In CHNA 16, the North Suburban Health Alliance, serving most of the region surrounding our hospitals, Hallmark Health System continues to share the lead role with Cambridge Health Alliance. HHS is also represented at the regional CHNA meetings which also include CHNA 13 and 14.
Hallmark Health System has increased its connections to agencies that work with underserved populations such as the Chinese Culture Connection, the YWCA of Malden, and the Tri-city Community Action Program (Tri-Cap). Hallmark Health System is also fully committed to expanding the cultural congruency of our health system. Since our initial work with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Culture InSight Team, through a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation grant in 2007, HHS has instituted a Diversity Committee which continues to meet quarterly and is led by the System Vice President of Human Resources. New hire orientation continues to include an introduction to the HHS Diversity Program and the Interpreter Services Program. Annual competency is maintained through a mandatory online training session.
Hallmark Health programs that support the needs of the diverse communities in our service area include programs such as “Meet.Mingle.Mammogram”, a multi-part educational, support, and screening program designed to serve diverse women in Burlington, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn. This program, formerly funded by the Massachusetts affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, allows the staff of Hallmark Health to educate young women, aged 20 to 39 years about the importance of breast health and breast cancer prevention strategies, offers navigation services to any woman in the community needing support in scheduling her annual mammogram, and provides special screening events for diverse women. The program is offered in partnership with other local agencies such as the Malden YWCA Encore Plus program.
In Malden, HHS received funding from the Marshall Foundation for The Malden Elder Asian Diabetes Health Project. For the Hallmark Health System catchment area, not including childbirth, the top three causes of hospitalization are related to diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and circulatory system disorders. The data also shows that Asian-Americans have a higher risk of having diabetes when compared to Asians who remained in their country of origin.
To build community awareness about the impact of diabetes, our Program Coordinator wrote diabetes articles for a multi-part series “Managing Your Diabetes” which the Sampan newspaper published. The paper also advertised our events to an even wider audience. The Chinese Culture Connection helped with the translation of a phone message in Chinese, and provided information about the programs during community outreach activities. Screening and education was also offered through the multi-session programs.
Improving Chronic Disease Management:
Many factors contribute to the rapidly rising rates of chronic disease, both locally and across the country. These include such diverse factors as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, inherited conditions, and exposure to tobacco. In addition, the nationwide obesity epidemic has also led to a marked increase in many chronic diseases. The impact of these illnesses is on the individual, their family and friends, and on the community. As well as affecting an individual’s quality of life, these diseases also have a long term financial impact on the community.
In the Hallmark Health service area cardiovascular disease, diabetes, long-term cancers, bone and joint diseases, such as osteoporosis and arthritis, and substance abuse and mental illnesses, such as depression bring health challenges for area residents to cope with every day. To assist residents in identifying and coping with these diseases, Hallmark Health offers a variety of services and programs such as support groups for elder caregivers, residents with diabetes and those faced with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. In addition the hospital provides education and screening, including self-management programs for diabetics through the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and other self-management programs for chronic diseases through the evidenced-based “My Life, My Health” program, developed by Stanford University. In the Hallmark Health service area, Cambridge Health Alliance, Mystic Valley Elder Services, and Hallmark Health have collaborated to offer the My Life, My Health programs in a strategic way to residents.
One of Hallmark Health System’s signature programs, the Senior Citizen’s Outreach Program offers nursing services such as nursing assessments and referrals, blood pressure screenings, individual health conferences, and multi-session classes to area residents. Education programs are provided on topics ranging from healthy aging, blood pressure and diabetes management to coping with stress. The program is staffed by a registered nurse specializing in the chronic diseases facing older adults.
Promoting Wellness in Vulnerable Populations:
For Hallmark Health, three (3) populations have been identified as especially vulnerable. These include low to moderate income elders; families with children/adolescents at risk due to poverty, isolation, language or cultural barriers, domestic violence, lack of knowledge or skills to navigate the health care system, or those in need of developing parenting skills; and the un-served and underserved community members suffering from behavior health issues. These populations are at risk for abuse and neglect, lack of preventative care leading to poor health outcomes, and are often the segment of society living at or below the poverty level.
For the past fifteen years, Hallmark Health System has provided the Healthy Families home-visiting program for first-time parents age 20 and under living in Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, and Wakefield. Funded by the Children’s Trust Fund and supported by Hallmark Health, Healthy Families offers free services for participants and their families during pregnancy and until the child turns three. Services include home visiting, mentoring, role modeling, prenatal and parenting education, parenting activities and groups for young parents, and connecting families with community services and resources. In addition, educational classes such as prenatal classes, infant care, CPR, and First Aid are also provided.
In 2012, Hallmark Health System received additional funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to expand these important services in Everett, considered one of the seventeen most high risk cities in Massachusetts. In Everett, the model serves first time young parents age 22 and under. In the first five months of operations, the program has hired four new staff members, fully served 10 families and had 12 referrals.
Another successful Hallmark Health long-term prevention program is the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network (NSCFRN), a community-based parenting education and support program that serves families living or working in Melrose, Stoneham, and Wakefield as well as other local communities. In 2012, the Network, funded by a grant through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, offered parent/child play and learn groups focused on improving literacy, parenting education programs, support groups, family fun activities, as well as information on resources and referrals. Specific programs were also offered for grandparents and fathers. The Network is administered through a partnership between Melrose, Stoneham, and Wakefield Public Schools and Hallmark Health. The program also provides support for childcare providers. Parents and community representatives assist with fundraising, community outreach, and program development. In 2012, the program served over 750 unduplicated families.
In 2012, Hallmark Health System was chosen by the Everett Public Schools to mentor them in their Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. Hallmark Health System donates space for programs, has a lead role on the Everett Early Child Committee, and provides “play and learn” groups and support programs for families with young children.
Community Benefits Program Stories or linkages:
Healthy Families and MA
Hallmark Health System Regional Substance Use Coalition
Community Benefit Programs and Activities 2014-2016
To view the complete Hallmark Health System (HHS) 2014-2016 Community Benefits Plan, including a summary of identified needs for each priority area, please click here.
For a detailed analysis of the community health needs within the HHS service area, please refer to the Community Benefits Needs Assessment which includes the primary, secondary and stakeholder data used to identify the community needs and priorities to be addressed within the plan.
(A) Residents managing behavioral health issues and substance use including depression, anxiety, co-occurring substance use disorders, and serious and persistent mental illness. This will include a focus on access to care issues, integration of behavioral health and primary care, preventive mental health, and a particular emphasis on the geriatric population and their families/caregivers.
- Outpatient psychiatric care for vulnerable populations will be provided through a sliding scale fee adjustment for elders or adult psychiatric clients identified in financial need. This program complies with the Hallmark Health System debt collection policies and practices.
- Behavioral health visits in the Emergency Departments will include SBIRT Screening (screening, brief-intervention, resource, and treatment) for all patients where appropriate. Of note, in the MWH Emergency Department, trained psychiatric nurses are available to support optimal patient care.
- HHS will continue to provide support to the Melrose, Medford, Reading and Wakefield Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions. HHS has also convened the HASURC (Hallmark Health Substance Use Regional Collaborative) to support local cities and towns with this effort.
- A community-based Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group will continue to be offered weekly at the Melrose campus. This is one of three AA meetings offered in Melrose and is the only handicapped-accessible site.
- In 2014, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice will continue to offer a series of ongoing support groups to help those who have experienced loss, including support groups such as Surviving Grief and Change and Surviving Loss Over Sixty.
- In addition, “Kids in Grief”, a program for children who have experienced loss utilizing expressional therapy, will be offered in multiple sessions this year.
- In Wakefield and in Stoneham, Community Teams will continue to support annual drives for local troops stationed overseas in service of our country. The goal of this program is to ease the isolation of local service men and women during their assignment and to provide a community bridge for them as they return home from deployment overseas.
- The Behavioral Health Departments will provide annual community depression screening and educational sessions.
- In Melrose, HHS continues to support the “Shine the Light” Program to address a community education need resulting from a sexual predator incident affecting children cared for by the Melrose Family YMCA.
- Behavioral Health Services continues to provide a single-number resource line to allow the community to easily access behavioral health services. Staff and the community may use this resource to identify services within HHS and with other local providers. Case management services are also provided as needed.
- The Supported Birthing Program will seek funding to continue providing support and education sessions for pregnant women in addictions treatment.
- The North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network (NSCFRN) in collaboration with Maternal Newborn Services will provide support and education for parents with babies discharged from the Special Care Nursery, especially those under treatment for addictions.
- Other programs such as Healthy Families and the MA Home Visiting Initiative, the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network, include prevention and referral for behavioral health and substance use as core program components.
- The Dutton Center Adult Day Health and Supportive Day Program will continue to offer Supportive Day Care for all seniors and Adult Day Healthcare for those with special physical, cognitive or emotional needs, including those with mental health and developmental challenges.
- Alzheimer’s Caregivers and other Caregiver Support groups will be offered throughout the year.
- A bi-monthly program “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Harmony” will be offered through the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network and local community collaborations.
- Intensive behavioral health day treatment is available for both adults (over 18 years) and elders.
- In the fall outpatient groups will be offered in psycho-education, mood management, and developing enhanced coping skills.
- In FY 14- an outpatient Geriatric Assessment and Treatment Center will be opened to offer more specialized mental health support, including consideration of issues like home safety and driving, with goal to keep people housed and independent in their homes.
(B) Community members at risk for developing cancer or being treated for cancer, with a focus on lung cancer, colorectal cancer, oral, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer.
- Opportunities for Skin Cancer Screening will be available for community members annually.
- A Breast Health Awareness program will be held in the community annually. HHS opened a comprehensive Breast Health Center in 2012.
- Through a relationship with the Malden YWCA, underserved women will be provided screening and care to promote breast health. HHS will participate in the annual YWCA “Tina’s Heart” cancer survivor program hosted by the YWCA. HHS also supports the YWCA’s efforts to screen women for breast cancer through their Avon grant.
- In addition mammography screening events will be offered to low-income diverse residents in the services area.
- A sliding scale fee and scholarship program will be offered for low-income residents with lymphedema.
- An eight-week group support and cessation education will be made available to patient and employee tobacco users. These low cost programs will be available throughout the year and follow the successful American Lung Association program guidelines.
- An oral, head and neck cancer screening will be offered annually.
- The Hallmark Health System Hematology and Oncology Center in Stoneham will offer a variety of cancer support groups to aid families in coping with the physical, social and emotional aspects of cancer. Facilitated by nurses, social workers, and other clinical members, the groups will be held at the Center. One of the groups offered will be a four-part series entitled, “I Can Cope”, which includes sessions on learning about cancer and cancer treatments, understanding feelings and family relationships, discovering resources and celebrating life. Attendance will be monitored.
- Community Education programs focused on cancer prevention will be planned and implemented throughout the year, especially focused on geographic areas with a higher than average incidence of certain cancers. Cancer Conversations will be offered with a focus on both men and women.
- Chronic Disease Self-Management programs will be offered to long-term cancer patients and recovering smokers.
- Limited transportation is made available for low-income residents without other means to access care.
- Radiation oncology treatments are provided to patients from Cambridge Health Alliance through a collaborative practice agreement.
(C1) Residents at risk for developing cardiovascular disease or those experiencing health issues due to undiagnosed or poorly understood cardiovascular risks, including those at risk for developing Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and for suffering a stroke.
(C2) Men, women, and children with weight management issues, with a specific focus on obesity prevention for adults and children.
(C3) Community members at risk for developing diabetes or with diabetes management issues.
- The “Red Dress Day” program offering health education and screening will be offered in the community annually. The programs offer participants heart healthy information, health screenings and the opportunity to speak with a financial counselor, a pharmacist and/or a dietician.
- The Healthy Heart Educational Series through the Cardiac & Endovascular Center at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital will be offered annually.
- “Watch Over Me”, a stroke community health education program, will continue to be offered in the community. Volunteers will be trained to reach out to their peers to spread the “FAST” message about stroke, and health education lectures will be provided by trained professional staff and physicians. This program will be implemented in collaboration with Winchester Hospital.
- An Anticoagulation Management Service was developed and implemented in late 2012, the services will continue.
- Funding will be sought to extend the number of maintenance sessions available to residents needing cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services that do not have insurance coverage. This program will comply with the HHS debt collection policies and practices.
- Varicose Vein Screening will be offered annually. Participants with abnormal screening values will be referred for treatment and provided follow-up care.
- Blood Pressure clinics will be offered through the VNA and at community events throughout the year. Screening/education tools will be used consistently across program departments to measure the number of residents screened, the health information provided, and any follow-up and referral done with patients.
- A multi-session tested BP reduction program is available without charge to residents identified as at risk.
- The HHS Senior Outreach Program will offer nursing services such as nursing assessments and referrals, blood pressure screenings, individual health conferences and support groups. Education programs will be provided on topics ranging from healthy aging to diabetes management. Chronic disease self-management programs are also being offered.
- HHS will continue to support Mystic Valley Elder Services Senior Citizen lunches at the West Medford Community Center. This is a racially diverse area of the community where many seniors are living at or below the poverty level.
- In Stoneham, Community Team Volunteers provide support for family supper programs hosted by various town sponsors. These programs provide a hot meal, health education and health screenings for families in financial need.
- Chronic Disease Self-Management programs will be offered for seniors in collaboration with Merrimack Valley and Mystic Valley Elder Services.
- The North Suburban WIC program will continue to focus on improving the identification and management of enrolled participants at risk for developing gestational diabetes and those requiring support to manage their disease.
- HHS will sponsor diabetes education and screening programs to support patients in getting their blood sugar under control through diet and exercise and making healthy lifestyle choices. The programs will focus on educating patients to address all aspects of diabetes management, from lifestyle and emotional issues to medical treatments and long-term health concerns.
- The Diabetes Self-Management Program will continue to offer group or 1:1 classes. Scholarships are provided for patients without insurance coverage or with limited financial resources. Family members and friends are also invited to attend without cost to allow them to be able to support the patient with diabetes.
- Exercise programs will be provided for residents with diabetes.
- Screening to identify community members at risk for developing diabetes will be offered during the year at community events and programs. These screenings will be focused on geographic communities identified through data as having many underserved residents. Patients identified as at risk will be offered referrals and follow-up care.
- The Malden Elder Asian Diabetes Project, funded by the Marshall/Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, will offer education and screening for elder Asian residents in collaboration with the Chinese Culture Connection of Malden.
- Diabetes Support Groups will meet monthly. This program receives clinical support from the hospital’s Diabetes Self-Management Team.
- “Healthy Kids in Motion” will be offered to elementary age students.
- A “Healthy Adults in Motion” program will be offered annually. This program will be available to underserved residents. Follow-up activities and referrals will be made as appropriate.
- A four to six week Advanced Bariatric Support Group will be offered twice annually for patients more than two years post-operative from bariatric surgery.
- Health Awareness Education programs focused on healthy eating will be provided throughout the year. These programs are offered for diverse age groups.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening will be offered annually at local community events.
- Support will be provided to the Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, and Wakefield Community Transformation grants as funding allows.
- An Overeaters Anonymous Group will be offered space for their program at LMH.
(D) Residents needing access to healthcare especially focused on uninsured or underserved residents of our core communities. This includes the recruitment, education and training of nurses, physicians, other practitioners and community volunteers needed to care for these populations.
- Information will be provided on the HHS website, at physician offices, at the hospital campuses and offsite locations to assist families in accessing financial counseling services.
- HHS policies will include fair debt-collection practices.
- HHS Financial Counselors will support individuals to enroll and re-enroll in the distinctive state health programs; such as Mass Health, Commonwealth Care, Children’s Medical Security Plan, Healthy Start and the Health Safety Net and to assist additional people in choosing a managed care plan and a primary care practitioner. Outreach and education to uninsured residents will be provided as resources allow.
- Through community collaboration, HHS will refer residents to education sessions designed to assist them in retaining health insurance coverage.
- Interpreter service availability, in accordance with Hallmark Health policy, will be advertised publicly in conjunction with financial counseling services. Services provided over and above requirements, such as providing translation services at health screening events will be tracked.
- HHS and Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Inc. will work in partnership with Somerville Cambridge Elder Services, Cambridge Health Alliance and Mystic Valley Elder Services on a federal Community Innovations program to benefit local elders in transitions of care.
- As an organization, HHS will attempt to recruit and retain diverse staff. HHS will also recruit diverse medical staff as appropriate.
- The HHS Diversity Steering Committee will meet quarterly to develop training programs on diversity and discuss system-wide issues impacting access to care. Ongoing diversity training will continue to be implemented for HHS staff and leaders.
- Training for nursing and radiology students from the Lawrence Memorial/Regis College School of Nursing/ Medical Radiology will be provided; including those who represent diverse communities. Both faculty and students in the nursing and radiology programs will be offered opportunities to engage in community activities. Both schools provide scholarship opportunities for community residents to be trained in the health professions as eligible.
- Mentoring opportunities will be made available for nursing and radiology students from Salem State University, Lawrence Memorial/Regis College and other colleges; for nutrition students from Tufts University, Framingham State University and other colleges and in for other health disciplines such as pharmacy, where students come from colleges such as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Students in other disciplines will be mentored as resources allow.
- A pharmacy residency program for registered pharmacists is also available.
- Mentoring opportunities for new physicians will be made available through the Hallmark Health Medical Associates Physician Practice Program and in the hospitals of the system.
- A web-based medical library will be available for use by area residents and local community access television and publications will be utilized to share important health information with the community.
- Limited transportation services will be made available to residents with no other documented means of accessing care and to clients in the Intensive Outpatient Program.
- Continuing Medical Education will be offered regularly at both hospital campuses. These programs will be open to all medical staff in the community. Community educational opportunities offered to the community through the School of Nursing and Radiology will also be tracked.
(E) Vulnerable populations such as families with children/adolescents at risk due to poverty, isolation, language or cultural barriers, domestic violence, access to care issues, or lack of skills to navigate the health care system, lack of early prenatal care or those in need of developing parenting skills.
- Healthy Families home-visiting program for first-time parents age 20 and under, living in Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham and Wakefield. Funded by the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) and supported by HHS, Healthy Families will offer free services for participants and their families during pregnancy and until the child turns three. Healthy Families provides home visits, prenatal and parenting education, mentoring, family-focused groups and activities and connects families to community resources.
- Additional participants and an expanded age group (22 years and under) will be served in Everett though the MA Home Visiting Initiative (MHVI) funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and supported through a collaboration with the Children’s Trust Fund.
- The North Suburban Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and supported by HHS, will provide food and nutrition services to prenatal and postpartum women and infants and children under the age of five at four local sites.
- The “Fit and Fabulous” Prenatal Exercise and Nutrition program will continue to be offered for prenatal women from 16 weeks to term with their health care providers’ approval. This program will be offered through special WIC funding.
- WIC Parenting Education and Support program “Mornings with Mom” will be offered. This free program includes a nutrition class, followed by a playgroup.
- The WIC Farmer’s Market program will be offered in the summer. Farmer’s Market coupons are provided and used to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits grown at approved Farmer’s Markets on a first-come, first serve basis.
- The “Mothers Helping Mothers” Program, a community resource closet providing free gently used maternity clothes, children’s clothing, and infant care products, expects to serve more than 600 families this year. Parenting education and resources and referrals are also provided.
- The Family Support Worker position, funded through a WIC pilot will help families with overall support service needs such as referrals to English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, housing assistance, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and others.
- Through collaboration with the Greater Boston Food Bank and HHS, a monthly mobile food pantry will be offered at the WIC site in Malden. More than 16,000 residents in this area are considered “food insecure”-without the necessary resources to purchase food to maintain a nutritious diet.
- Through collaboration with the Malden Board of Health and WIC, lead prevention education and lead testing will be offered to children three to five years at the Malden WIC site.
- Education offerings such as “Shopping with Tots” will be provided by the Nutrition Service Department. The program is designed to promote healthy eating and to help parents and caregivers to utilize experiential learning, such as their grocery shopping trips as ways to provide developmentally appropriate learning for their child.
- The North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network (NSCFRN) is a community based parenting education and support program that serves families living or working in Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield as well as other local communities. The Network, funded by a grant through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care through a partnership with the Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield Public Schools, will offer parent/child play and learn groups, parenting education programs, support groups, family fun activities, as well as information on community resources. Programs will also be available for grandparents, single parents and fathers.
- As a “Help Me Grow” site, the NSCFRN will assist parents and caregivers to learn and use appropriate developmental assessment tools to enhance child growth and development.
- An expanded collaboration of the NSCFRN and Everett Public Schools will allow HHS to serve Everett residents in the Family Network model.
- Evidence-informed programs for women will be offered, based on needs identified through focus groups.
- “Creative Coping for New Moms”, a parenting education and support group model, will provide group support and parent education for first-time families with children under the age of one. In 2013, a component of exercise and nutrition was be added for mothers.
- Integrated breastfeeding support and education will be provided through Maternal Newborn Services, Community Health Education, through the Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, WIC, Healthy Families, the North Suburban WIC program, and the NSCFRN. This includes a pilot home visiting model in collaboration with Northeastern University, the State Department of Public Health and local Mass in Motion programs.
- The Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s Baby Café and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s Baby Café Malden, in affiliation with the UK-based Baby Café Charitable Trust, will provide pregnant and breastfeeding mothers a friendly and comfortable environment to learn more about breastfeeding. In 2013, WIC was funded to add another Baby Café location, in Everett. This site opened in the spring of 2013.
- Shaken Baby prevention and education services will be offered for staff and families in the community through the WIC program. A WIC staff member is certified as a “Happiest Baby on the Block” trainer.
- Prenatal Class Scholarships will be provided for those individuals meeting the guidelines for free care in accordance with the Attorney General’s recommended debt collection practices.
- With the ongoing financial instability in this geographic area, families continue to be sheltered in the motels along Route 99 in Malden and Saugus. These families are being sheltered for a variety of reasons and for varying lengths of time. HHS and other local partners will continue to monitor and address the need for family support by these residents and work together to meet the needs as reasonable.
- In Stoneham, Community Team volunteers provide monthly support for Family Supper programs hosted by the town. These programs provide a hot meal, health education and health screenings for families in financial need.
- Community drives to support families in financial need are held throughout the year and include clothing and diaper drives for children in our area, holiday food, book and toy drives and a school supply drive for children in Medford.
- Family Suppers will be hosted at the hospitals to promote overall health and improved connections between families. Each supper will include a health education lecture.
(a) Residents impacted by infectious disease such as Tuberculosis; especially those residing in Everett, Malden and Medford.
- HHS will provide space and staffing for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Clinic. This program provides screening, education, and treatment for residents of all ages in Everett, Malden and Medford. It is operated in collaboration with the city Boards of Health in these communities.
- HHS is currently working with the Malden Board of Health to secure funding for specialized TB testing for children. This would replace less accurate screening measures.
- These residents’ needs will also be addressed as a component of the Emergency Planning process for the health system.
(b) Men, women and children at risk for developing bone and joint injuries or disease with a focus on injury prevention for all ages; specifically falls prevention, arthritis and osteoporosis prevention and detection and prevention of sports injuries, including head injury in youth.
- Bone and Joint Camp, a pre-surgical education program will continue to be offered to community residents to assist them in planning for post-surgical recovery, thus reducing hospital stays. This includes staff from the Nutrition Department, Rehabilitation Services and many others.
- “Joint Talks” will be provided to physician groups to increase their awareness of new arthritis treatment options available for patients.
- “Falls Prevention” lectures will be offered in the community annually.
- The “Falls Prevention Task Force” will continue to meet to offer support system-wide and collect information to reduce falls and promote safety in the community.
- “Back School” lectures will be offered to educate community members about injury prevention, exercises to reduce injuries, and postural control.
- The Osteoporosis Screening and Education Program will continue to offer education and screening programs throughout the HHS service area. Patients identified through the screening process will be referred to treatment or receive follow-up support through the program.
- The HHS Rehabilitation Department will offer a variety of sports medicine education programs focused on the prevention of injuries, including head and spine injuries. The education programs will be offered to parents, caregivers and coaches of student athletes to assist them in preparing children/ adolescents for an active lifestyle, while focused on reducing risk of injury.
- Athletic trainer programs will also be offered at some of the local high schools. The costs of these services are not fully reimbursed.
- A concussive injury program has been developed and implemented for local students. The testing equipment has been funded by a grant from the Boston Bruins Foundation.
(c) Residents with Chronic Respiratory Condition such as COPD and Asthma
- HHS offers a free monthly adult support group “Better Breathers” to assist residents to better manage their chronic respiratory illness.
- Children with asthma are referred to other local programs such as those at Winchester Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance.
(d) Domestic Violence Prevention & Education is a key initiative for Hallmark Health System. Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive controlling behaviors that one person exercises over another in an intimate relationship.
- HHS staff members provide support to three local coalitions in Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield.
- In addition to the support it provides for the prior mentioned domestic violence prevention programs, HHS will also provide space and services to the Portal to Hope program.
- A Domestic Violence Support group will be offered in collaboration with the Melrose Alliance Against Violence and other local prevention coalitions.
(e) The community at-large to be prepared for disasters and emergencies: Only those activities constituting services over and above what is required will be tracked as community services and benefits.
- Clinical staff and administrators will participate in local, regional and state activities, including drills aimed at preparing for a range of natural and other disasters such as pandemic flu and other health emergencies.
- HHS will participate on regional and local emergency planning committees and will also serve as a receiving facility for victims of emergencies and natural disasters as needed.
- HHS will partner with the American Red Cross to host blood drives annually.
- HHS will continue to collaborate with our communities to provide education and support for seasonal Flu Clinics in the core HHS communities. (This will also include the work of the Hallmark Health Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice.) Other immunizations and Tuberculosis testing will be provided as needed and in alignment with available resources.
- HHS will participate in community-oriented CPR training programs in collaboration with local agencies. At HHS community health events, CPR demonstrations will continue to be offered to build awareness about the need for the public to learn and perform CPR.
- American Heart Association “Family and Friends CPR Anytime” will be offered at local high schools in collaboration with community partners. Students will be encouraged to train additional family and friends using the kits provided.
- An annual dinner and training will be offered to the local first responder groups in the area.
- HHS will continue to provide Medical Control for the City of Melrose’s Ambulance Program, providing local ambulance service in collaboration with Cataldo Ambulance. Medical oversight for this program will be provided by HHS. In 2013, an Advanced Life Support Component was also added.
- The Emergency Department will provide “just-in-time” education sessions for ambulance company providers and quarterly Morbidity & Mortality education rounds. These programs will focus on helping Emergency Medical Providers to be better prepared in emergencies by using strategies such as hypothetical case discussions.
- File of Life activities will be supported as requested in local communities; such as providing support to the File of Life Committee in Medford, focused on reaching out to Haitian Creole speaking residents.
- The Lifeline Emergency Response Program, including medication support, will continue to be widely available for community residents.
- The Emergency Planning Team will work to identify the specific needs of underserved populations and develop policies and strategies to address these needs as appropriate.
Community Benefits Advisory Council
Loretta Kemp, Deputy Director, Tri-City Community Action Program (Tri-CAP), area resident
Mei Hung, Executive Director, Chinese Culture Connection
Joanne Lambert, Member of the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital Patient Advisory Council, retired Vice-Principal, Malden Public Schools, active in many community groups, area resident.
Hallmark Health System Representatives:
Eda George, RN, PhD, Trustee
Alan G. Macdonald, Executive Vice President, Strategy & External Affairs, area resident
Charles Whipple, Esq., MHSA, Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer
Diane Farraher-Smith RN, MSN, MBA, President, Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Inc., System Vice President, Home Care & Community Programs, area resident.
David Richman, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Hallmark Health Medical Associates
Kristyn Newhall, MD, Family Medicine, Malden Family Health Center
Lori Howley, Chief Marketing Officer
Elisa Scher, RN-BC, MSN, System Director, Hematology-Oncology, Co-Director, Comprehensive Breast Center and Center for Weight Management
Susan Riley, Controller
Eileen Dern, RN, CES, Director, Community Services
William Bradshaw, Manager, Community Benefits
A Better Tomorrow Services, Inc.
American Cancer Association
Asian American Civic Association
Asian Breast Cancer (ABC) Project
American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
American Red Cross
Baby Friendly America
Bread of Life
Cambridge Health Alliance
Community Family Human Services, Inc.
Cross Cultural Communications, Inc.
Early Intervention Program- there are multiple agencies serving this area.
EMARC (Eastern Middlesex Association of Retarded Citizens)
Everett Family and Community Engagement Grant
Everyone Eats Healthy in Everett Coalition
Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation
Friends of Oak Grove
Greater Lynn Senior Services
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, Culture InSight
Housing Families, Inc.
Jewish Child and Family Services
Joint Committee for Children’s Health Care in Everett
Joslin Diabetes Center
La Comunidad, Inc.
Life Care Center of Stoneham
Local Arts Councils
Local Boards of Health
Local Chambers of Commerce
Local Civic Groups (such as Rotary and Kiwanis)
Local Councils on Aging Evangelical Church of Holiness
Local faith-based organizations such as the North Shore Rescue Mission and the
Local Public Schools
Malden Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant
Malden Homelessness Task Force
Malden Junior Aid Association
Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund
Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF)
Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
Massachusetts Department of Elder Service
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance
Mass in Motion Coalitions for Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, and Wakefield
Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts Hospital Association
MASS Parks and Recreation
Mayo Clinic for Laboratory Services
Medford Family Network
Medford Health Matters
Melrose Alliance Against Violence
Melrose Human Rights Commission
Merrimack Valley Elder Services
Middlesex County District Attorney's Office
Mt. Auburn Hospital
Mystic Valley Elder Services
North Suburban Health Alliance
Oak Grove Improvement Organization
Portal to Hope
Regional EMS Providers
Somerville Cambridge Elder Services
Stoneham Alliance Against Violence
Susan G. Komen MA Affiliate
The Adelaide Breed-Bayrd Marshall Foundation
The Chinese Culture Connection
The Institute for Community Health Improvement (ICH)
The Malden YWCA
The Malden YMCA
The Melrose Family YMCA
The Stoneham Boys and Girls Club
The Crudem Foundation
The Medford Substance Abuse Task Force
The Reading Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition
The Melrose Community Coalition
The Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition
The Stoneham Theater
The Wakefield Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition
Tri-CAP Hunger Network
The Greater Boston Food Bank
The Salvation Army
Tri-City Community Action Program
UMASS Memorial Health System
Wakefield Alliance Against Violence
West Medford Chamber of Commerce
West Medford Community Center
Zonta Clubs of Medford and Malden
Regis College and many other colleges and universities
Collaborations are developed with other groups as needed to implement Community Benefits programming.
Hallmark Health System community outreach teams work to boost institutional involvement, identify community needs and otherwise reach out to local organizations in their respective towns. Their efforts have won Hallmark Health System three major awards from local chambers of commerce and ensured that Hallmark Health is the organization that local communities look to when they face a health-related challenge or need. Many Hallmark Health staff members live in our primary or secondary service area and participate on a team or a team-sponsored event each year. Teams solicit input from key community leaders including; superintendents of schools, state representatives and local health departments. The community teams log hundreds of hours annually as active members in civic groups and service organizations throughout the North Suburban Region.
"Professional Voices for Health" - Hallmark Health System’s Community Benefits mission is to help build a strong, vibrant and healthy community. Our engaging speakers assist local organizations in providing presentations that focus on improving the health of residents in the workplace and in the community.
Presentation topics can be tailored to an organization’s particular interests, or we will be happy to consult with you to suggest topics for your group that focus on the health needs most common in our communities. Topics such as understanding your risks for heart disease and stroke, managing stress, osteoporosis prevention and managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes are commonly requested topics. Child safety and growth and development are also popular.
Please allow a minimum of four weeks for scheduling your program. There is no cost for scheduling a speaker.
Request a speaker online
View the speaker's bureau flyer here.
News & Events
Monday, June 29 2015 15:11