News Releases

Michael V. Sack to Retire as President and CEO of Hallmark Health after 12 Years of Service

Michael V. Sack, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Hallmark Health System, Inc., announced today that he intends to retire this month.

Mr. Sack said, "I have enjoyed my time and all of the wonderful people I have worked with over the last twelve years. I am proud of all that we have accomplished and I have tremendous confidence in the entire Hallmark Health organization's ability to succeed – now and into the future."

James Herrington, chair of Hallmark Health System's Board of Trustees, said, "The Board thanks Michael Sack for his twelve years of exceptional service and commitment to the organization and its communities. He has ably led Hallmark Health through a period of tremendous and fundamental change, and his skills, experience and wisdom will be missed."

The organization's accomplishments under Mr. Sack's leadership include:

• Advancing the quality and safety of care by promoting transparency and adopting technologies such as the eICU to help reduce mortality of the most critical patients, and introducing award-winning electronic health records across the system.

• Enhancing access to care by expanding services within the communities we serve with the opening of our Hematology/Oncology Center and our Comprehensive Breast Center in Stoneham, the Family Health Center in Malden, and the Hallmark Health Medical Center in Reading.

• Partnering with recognized leaders such as Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center and championing the great success of Hallmark Health's nursing program making us the first integrated health system in New England to achieve Magnet® status.

• Leading community efforts to promote wellness, including our nationally recognized programs such as Community-Based Care Transitions Program, our Baby-Friendly recognition, our Mobile Food Market and the Asian Elder Diabetes Project. Hallmark Health now partners with more than 100 community organizations to help improve the quality of overall health in the cities and towns we serve.

Mr. Herrington said that the Board will form a succession committee that will oversee a careful, comprehensive and thorough search for Mr. Sack's successor. The committee will undertake a search for a leader with the skills, experience and wisdom to lead Hallmark Health into its next stage of development. Alan Macdonald, Executive Vice President for Strategy and External Affairs and past Board Chairman, has been named interim CEO.

Two Hallmark Health Practices Earn National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) announced that the practice of Nicole Bloor, MD, PC of Melrose and Hallmark Health Medical Associates Family Medicine at Ball Square in Somerville have received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long‐term, participative relationships.

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients' experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient's care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs, and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.

"NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and coordinated care focused on patients," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "Recognition shows that Dr. Bloor's practice and Hallmark Health Medical Associates at Ball Square have the tools, systems and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time."

To earn recognition, which is valid for three years, Nicole Bloor, MD, PC and Hallmark Health Medical Associates at Ball Square demonstrated the ability to meet the program's key elements, embodying characteristics of the medical home. NCQA standards aligned with the joint principles of the Patient-Centered Medical Home established with the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association.
To find clinicians and their practices with NCQA PCMH Recognition, visit


What's In A Name? Top Baby Names for 2014

Many expectant parents agonize over what to name their baby,
while others name their sons and daughters after a family member or friend. With
approximately 1,000 babies born each year, Hallmark Health System's
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH) sees its fair share of both unique and classic

For the second year in a row, Ava was the most popular name
for baby girls born at MWH with Isabella and Olivia as the second and third
most popular choices. Joseph came out on top for the boys after coming in at
number two in 2013. The second and third slots this year went to Jayden and
Alexander. The local names differed from that of the top 100 names found on
parenting website, which had Sophia and Jackson coming out on
top. Sophia was number 5 at MWH, but Jackson did not even make the top 10 list.

Here is the full list of the top 10 most popular baby names
at MWH for 2014:

Girls: Ava,
Isabella, Olivia, Audrey, Sophia, Ella, Emma, Hannah, Sarah and Layla.

Boys: Joseph,
Jayden, Alexander, Liam, Mason, Robert, Benjamin, Matthew, Brayden and

Roseline Giglio, of Saugus, had her son Joseph at
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in July and said she isn't surprised it was this
year's most popular male moniker.

"I know so many Josephs," she said. "Our family alone
there's three Josephs."

Giglio said her husband chose the name, but added she plans
to call him "Jo Jo."

"It's kind of like a family name," said Giglio. "My husband
wanted to continue the tradition."

To see MWH's 2013 list, visit

MWH is a Baby-Friendly® birth facility, a prestigious internal recognition from
Baby-Friendly® USA, which encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an
optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. MWH is one of
only a handful of Baby-Friendly® organizations in Massachusetts.

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."

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