News Releases

Hallmark Health System offers information on flu prevention, treatment

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu activity is currently low in the United States, but is expected to increase in the coming weeks. Whether you already have the flu or want to protect yourself against it, Hallmark Health System (HHS) can help you and your family.

“It is important that individuals get vaccinated early so they can protect themselves against the flu,” said Thomas Byrne, MD, medical director at Hallmark Health Medical Associates (HHMA). “Every year our physicians’ offices see countless patients with the flu. We recommend anyone who thinks they have the flu to stay home if they can to help prevent the spread of the flu to friends, family and co-workers.”

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
* Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
* Cough
* Sore throat
* Runny or stuffy nose
* Muscle or body aches
* Headaches
* Fatigue
* Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

If you are looking for a physician, HHMA has more than 70 providers in nine local communities including Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, Stoneham and Winthrop. For more information or to search for a physician, visit hhma.org.

For more information about HHS, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

Hallmark Health System hospitals earn ‘A’ grade for patient safety for the third time

Hallmark Health System’s Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital earned an “A” grade in patient safety for the third year in a row from the Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization of employers and other purchasers of healthcare committed to encouraging safer, higher quality healthcare.

Calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group’s nine-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from infections, injuries and medical and medication errors. The panel is made up of patient safety experts from across the country.

“Hallmark Health System is very committed to patient safety and has invested in technology, staff training and great people to make sure we are successful in providing the very best care to each and every one of our patients,” said Maureen Pierog, MS, RN, vice president of quality improvement and patient safety at Hallmark Health System. “We are proud to have our patient safety efforts recognized by the Leapfrog Group during the past three years.”  

Leapfrog launched the Hospital Safety Score initiative to provide usable information to the public and to stimulate improvements in hospital safety. Scores for more than 2,600 general hospitals were calculated and each was assigned a consumer-friendly grade rating its safety from A to F. An “A” grade denotes the best hospital safety score. Hallmark Health System was one of 790 hospitals in the United States to receive an “A” grade.

For more information about HHS, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

HHS announces affiliation plans with Partners HealthCare System

Hallmark Health System (HHS), which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH), today announced the details of its affiliation plans with Partners HealthCare. The goal of this affiliation is to provide high-quality, coordinated care to HHS patients in the most appropriate locations, and whenever possible, closer to their homes in lower cost community settings, the foundation of our Population Health Management initiative.

The value for HHS affiliating with Partners is the opportunity to become a fully integrated member of a coordinated system of care with primary, secondary and some tertiary care in the community and the availability of critically acute or research-based care at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the highest ranked hospitals in the country.  By keeping patients within a coordinated system, HHS can track the quality of their care more effectively and focus on the cost of that care by eliminating repetitive procedures, such as tests and imaging that can happen when a patient sees a disconnected number of providers. Working within a coordinated system will also diminish fragmentation of care, which is a known cause for increased costs. And the proximity of Hallmark Health System and MGH provides the opportunity to use existing facilities more efficiently and effectively to coordinate available patient services for the region.

Our plan calls for LMH to transition to a short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility operated by MGH. The LMH campus will serve patients who are likely to stay in a hospital for less than three days. This facility will have robust outpatient services, which may include orthopedics, cardiology and digestive health. The Emergency Department (ED) will remain open during the two-year transition of LMH to the short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility as HHS evaluates community support and use of the ED. The urgent medical needs of the greater Medford community will continue to be met through the current Urgent Care Center. Major renovations to this campus are being planned to transform the hospital into a modern, state-of-the-art facility.

MWH will remain a full service acute care hospital. Major investments from Partners and HHS will fund renovations so that resources at this campus remain state-of-the-art and HHS will have expanded capacity in medical, surgical and maternity services and potentially additional inpatient treatment areas for psychiatric patients with acute medical problems. This hospital will continue to operate under the HHS license.  

Plans also call for MGH, in collaboration with Hallmark Health, to invest in an outpatient cancer center in the Stoneham area, increasing capacity in medical oncology and radiation oncology to accommodate more patients in a community-based center.

We expect to recruit twenty- five new primary care physicians which will help keep care in the community in lower cost settings and closer to the homes of patients. Major investments will also be made in state of the art information technology that will help improve community based coordinated care at lower costs.

The exciting HHS affiliation with Partners and MGH is essential to succeed in the new era of health care that focuses on better managing the health needs of the population, keeping people healthier and out of the hospital and lowering the long term cost of health care. The affiliation will ensure future access to high quality, efficiently delivered and advanced medical care for patients, their children and future generations across the communities we serve.

Both organizations are moving ahead to obtain regulatory approval for the affiliation, which will ultimately include a comprehensive review by the U.S. Department of Justice, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

For more information about HHS, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

Sack named chair-elect of Massachusetts Hospital Association

Hallmark Health System, which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, is pleased to announce that the organization’s President and Chief Executive Officer Michael V. Sack has been named chair-elect for the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA) Board of Trustees. He will hold the position until June 2014 when he will become chair. MHA is the primary representative of the hospital community in the state and plays a central role in influencing the public policy for high-quality health care.

“Mike is a thoughtful and highly regarded healthcare leader, with extensive experience and a collaborative approach that is vital in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment,” said Lynn Nicholas, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. “He’s been actively involved with the Massachusetts Hospital Association since 2005, taking on an array of leadership roles. Mike’s can-do attitude and deep knowledge of both Massachusetts and national hospital issues, supported by his service as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, will serve him well when he assumes the position of board chair in June 2014.”

Sack has led HHS for the past 10 years. He has fostered physician collaboration, identified operational needs and structured the organization to successfully respond to changing healthcare demands. Sack has also advanced grass root relationships and established and strengthened connections with local communities.

Sack has overseen four bond rating upgrades based upon strong financial performance while simultaneously enhancing employee satisfaction and building a solid culture of patient safety. He has advocated for the adoption of and utilization of sophisticated electronic health information systems and has consistently achieved a positive operating margin. Sack has also fostered a progressive sense of direction that has been accepted throughout the organization. HHS has been recognized for 10 consecutive years as a “Best Place to Work” by the Boston Business Journal.

Prior to coming to HHS, Sack served as president and chief executive officer of Affinity Health Alliance and Union Hospital in northern Maryland, which was recognized as one of the Top 100 Hospitals in America in 2003. He is a member of the Voluntary Hospitals of America – New England, the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals and the Metropolitan Hospital Council of the American Hospital Association. Sack holds a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine and School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Louis University.

For more information about HHS, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

Lawrence Memorial/Regis College nursing program receives full national accreditation

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing has once again awarded full accreditation to the Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing Program. This accreditation was granted for the next eight years, the longest accreditation allowed.

The Hallmark Health System (HHS) program achieved this distinguished recognition after completing an extensive report detailing the program followed by a comprehensive site visit. The visiting evaluation team and the commission recommended full continuing accreditation for eight years and identified specific strengths of this program. These strengths included the designation of the program as a National League of Nursing Center of Excellence designation from 2012 to 2015 and a strong emphasis on faculty research and scholarship. The Commission also noted the program’s international outreach with programs in Haiti, Egypt and other countries.

Nancy Phoenix Bittner, PhD, CNS, RN, vice president for education and professor of nursing at HHS, said very few programs (20 percent) have received the full continuing accreditations designation without any conditions. “Fifty-three associate degree programs throughout the country were reviewed in the spring 2013 cycle,” she continued. “Of them, only 10 other nursing programs were awarded the full continuing accreditation that we received.”

The Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing Program offers nursing students a unique blend of classroom and clinical experience, expert and experienced faculty and a flexible curriculum. The program is responsive to the diverse needs of applicants seeking a nursing education and accommodates student needs through a variety of schedule options, including day, night and weekend study.

For more information about HHS, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

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