News Releases

Hallmark Health Staff Gives Back to Those in Need

 

In an outpouring of giving, employees and staff throughout the
Hallmark Health System have given back to the communities we serve by helping
to make the holidays a little brighter for families in need.

In a tremendous effort, 25 departments and groups within the
Hallmark Health system "adopted" 15 families in need, provided nearly $14,000 in
donations, and donated more than 400 gifts to the Massachusetts Department of
Children and Families (DCF) through the Adopt-a-Family and Kids Fund programs.

DCF Kids Fund Executive Director Saf Caruso thanked Hallmark
Health staff for their "beautiful spirit of giving." "Your hard work, efforts
and commitment to our children and families each year bring so much happiness
to those who are trying hard to succeed and build a better life for themselves
and their children. Your compassion shows them they are thought about and
remembered, and the world has many caring people in it. This lesson will stay
with them throughout their lives."

Is Mumps Making a Comeback?

The news that more than a dozen National Hockey League (NHL)
players and referees were recently diagnosed with mumps has caught some
headlines. A once common childhood illness, mumps has been nearly eradicated
since a vaccine was introduced in the late 1960s. So why the comeback now?

Dr. Edward Butler, chief academic officer and hospital epidemiologist at Hallmark Health and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford says "the mumps vaccine is very effective in the short term, but after 10 years or so, that effectiveness begins to wane."

"Several years after the vaccine was introduced, we began to see a number of pre-teens developing mumps, and we realized that a "booster" was needed to ramp up protection."

In the United States, the mumps vaccine is now given in two
phases: once at age 12-15 months, and then again sometime between ages 5-10.
There is, however, a generation of young adults who fell outside the window of
receiving a booster. There are also a number of international players who may
not have been exposed to the same vaccination program as those in the United States,
and as a result, may never have received the vaccine.

"We've seen small outbreaks in the United States over the
past few years," added Dr. Butler. "Typically they occur among groups of
similar types of people in close quarters, such as college students. NHL
players sharing locker rooms could be another example."

Mumps is an infection of the parotid glands, which sit between
the cheek and the ear. Symptoms are similar to the flu, including painful
swelling around the face, fever, sore throat, aches and pains, difficulty
chewing or swallowing and nausea. In some extreme cases, meningitis and
encephalitis can occur. There is no specific treatment for mumps because
viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics, but it typically runs its course in
10-12 days. The virus is spread through close contact with an infected person's
saliva, and the long incubation period of one to three weeks makes it hard to
pinpoint an exact source of infection.

According to Dr. Butler, there are typically about 500 cases
of the mumps each year in the United States. "Most of the cases seen are due to
the waning of the vaccine, or the fact that a small population remain
susceptible despite the vaccine. Regardless, it is important for all children
to receive the vaccination as well as the booster. When it comes to fighting
mumps, one dose is good, but two doses are better."

Meet Junko Wright - Hallmark Health's November Employee of the Month

Phlebotomist Junko Wright has been drawing blood for oncology patients
for the past four years. During her weekend shift at Lawrence Memorial
Hospital, they tell her how their illnesses are affecting them week after week.

"They are going through a lot," Wright said. "Sometimes I don't know
what to say." She and her patients know that everything that can be done to
help them get better is being done. So often she just listens.

"I am living with cancer," wrote one of Wright's regular patients to
the hospital. "Her caring personality means so very much each and every time I
have to go in [to do lab work]."

For this gentle yet powerful impact on patients, Wright was awarded
November's Employee of the Month at Hallmark Health System. Evelyn Franzese, outreach phlebotomy supervisor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, lauds Wright's outstanding phlebotomy
and customer service skills and notes that she does more than gracefully draw
blood. "Junko's greatest attribute with patients is her ability to be
compassionate and a keen listener," she said.

Wright is humbled and honored by the recognition and feels like it
should go to the whole team. "I didn't do anything special," she said. Instead,
she admires her patients for their strength and gets emotional when she talks
about being recognized for helping them.

"They don't realize that they're actually helping me more," she said.
"I get caught up in little dramas. They come in and tell me what they go
through. It takes me back and helps me see things in the bigger picture."

Originally from Japan, Wright came to this country to pursue her
passion for dance but found her calling in health care. Her patients inspire
her to grow and improve. "What they go through is so hard," she explained. "It
makes me want to do better, to do more." Someday Wright hopes to transition to
a role as a surgical technologist and make an even bigger difference.

Officials Join in Celebrating Home Health and Hospice Month

In acknowledgement of Home Health and Hospice Month each November, Hallmark Health celebrates the dedication and professionalism of the staff of Hallmark Health Visiting Nurses Association (HHVNA) and Hospice.

This year, three themes were nationally celebrated, corresponding to three different aspects of home care and hospice work. The theme for Home Care was "Home is the Center
of Health Care"; Hospice celebrated "Hospice=Love in Action"; and the theme for
Home Care Aide Week (celebrated November 9-15) was "Caring in Action". All of these themes are intertwined and aptly describe the mission and vision of home care and hospice delivery. Helping patients remain in their homes is the goal, and the staff at HHVNA and Hospice make this possible with the quality care they provide.

"We celebrate and support the invaluable contributions our
staff make each day to patients recuperating from illness, suffering from
chronic disease, learning how to better manage their disease process, or in the
final stage of their life," said Diane Farraher-Smith, MSN, MBA, RN, President
of HHVNA and Hospice.

Recently, HHVNA and Hospice was named a 2014 HomeCare Elite™
winner. The HomeCare Elite™ is an annual compilation of the most successful
home care providers in the United States. This market-leading review, from OCS
HomeCare by National Research Corporation and DecisionHealth, names the top 25
percent of agencies in home health performance measures.

To further promote the exceptional work of HHVNA and
Hospice, government officials joined staff on home visits throughout the month.
During these visits, they witnessed first-hand the important role home health
and hospice plays in the lives of their constituents.

Local officials taking part in the visits included Senator
Jason Lewis, Representative Paul Brodeur, Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan, Malden
Mayor Gary Christenson, and Stoneham Selectmen Tom Boussy and John DePinto.

HIMSS Analytics Honors Hallmark Health with Stage 6 Recognition

Medford, MA - HIMSS Analytics announced
Hallmark Health has achieved Stage 6 on the EMR Adoption ModelSM
(EMRAM).

HIMSS
Analytics developed the EMR Adoption Model in 2005 as a methodology for
evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for
hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics™ Database.
Tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), hospitals can
review the implementation and utilization of information technology
applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced
electronic patient record environment.

"This is a
tremendous accomplishment for Hallmark Health," said Carol Dresser, Vice President
of Information Services at Hallmark Health. "We are proud that we continue to
maximize our investment in clinical applications that supports the delivery of
safe, high quality patient care."

Stage 6 hospitals

· Have made
significant executive commitments and investments to reach this stage.

· Appear to
have a significant advantage over competitors for patient safety, clinician
support, clinician recruitment, and competitive marketing for both consumers
and nurse recruitment.

· Have almost
fully automated/paperless medical records when they have implemented their IT
applications across most of the inpatient care settings.

· Are either
starting to evaluate their data for care delivery process improvements or have
already documented significant improvements in this area.

· Have made
investments that are within reach of most hospitals and recognize the strategic
value of improving patient care with the EHR.

· Have begun to create strategic
alignments with their medical staff to effectively utilize information
technology to improve the patient safety environment

· Are well positioned to provide
data to key stakeholders, such as payers, the government, physicians,
consumers, and employers, to support electronic health record environments and
health information exchanges.

Stage 6
hospitals also have achieved a significant advancement in their IT capabilities
that positions them to successfully address many of the current industry
transformations, such as meaningful use criteria in the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act, claims attachments for the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act, pay for performance, and government quality reporting
programs.

"HIMSS Analytics congratulates Hallmark Healthfor leading
the way toward health IT adoption," said John Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS, executive
vice president, HIMSS Analytics. "Stage 6 represents a level of sophistication
that only 921 U.S. hospitals have reached to date."

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