News Releases

A team of nurses and nurse leaders representing Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and
Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, were recognized and celebrated at the recent American Nurses
Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Conference in Dallas, TX for Hallmark Health's
Magnet® designation.

In April Hallmark Health achieved Magnet® recognition as a reflection of its nursing professionalism, teamwork and
excellence in patient care. Only eight hospitals in the state, and less than 7
percent of hospitals in the United States, have Magnet recognition. Hallmark
Health System is the only system in New England to receive this recognition.

"The entire Hallmark Health community is so proud of our nurses for achieving Magnet
status," said Michael V. Sack, president and CEO. "To be celebrated by such a
large number of their peers from the best nursing programs in the country is a
testament to their hard work and clinical excellence. They prove everyday how
they work together and keep our patients as the center of their attention. Our
patients and community have known this for many years."

The conference welcomed more than 7,000 nurses and nurse executives from top
hospitals across the country. It is the official annual conference of
the prestigious Magnet Recognition Program®, serving as both a
celebration of accomplishment for newly designated Magnet®
organizations and a showcase of best nursing practices for the Magnet

Medford, MA – Both Hallmark Health System hospitals (Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital) were honored with "A" grades in the Fall 2014 Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries and infections. The grades are released every six months by Leapfrog, and this is the sixth consecutive time the Hallmark Health hospitals have received scores of "A."

The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation's leading experts on patient safety and is administered byThe Leapfrog Group (Leapfrog), an independent industry watchdog. The first and only hospital safety rating to be peer-reviewed in the Journal of Patient Safety, the Score is free to the public and designed to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves and their families when facing a hospital stay.

"We are very proud to once again receive "A" grades from the Leapfrog Group," said Michael V. Sack, president and CEO of Hallmark Health. The grades are areflection of the dedication and commitment of our staff to provide high quality care in our communities everyday."

"Patient safety needs to be a 24-7 priority for hospitals, as errors and infections are all too common and often deadly," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, which administers the Hospital Safety Score. "We commend the 'A' hospitals, including Hallmark Health, for helping us to raise the standards of health care nationwide, and demonstrating that they've made the well-being of patients a top priority."

Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog's Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single "A," "B," "C," "D," or "F" score representing a hospital's overall capacity to keep patients safe from preventable harm. More than 2,500 U.S. general hospitals were assigned scores in fall 2014, with about 31-percent receiving an "A" grade. The Hospital Safety Score is fully transparent, with a full analysis of the data and methodology used in determining grades available online.

To see how Hallmark Health's scores compare locally and nationally, and to access consumer-friendly tips for patients and their loved ones, visit the newly updated Hospital Safety Score website. Consumers can also go to that website for a free download of the Hospital Safety Score mobile app.

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Focus continues nationally on the prevention and spread of the Ebola virus. At Hallmark Health we take the concerns seriously. Our teams of specialists are working diligently with everyone from administration to our frontline staff at our hospitals, clinics and physician practices to ensure that all staff are receiving the latest and most appropriate safety training and have at their disposal needed information and personal protective equipment. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call before your visit.

For more information about Hallmark Health's preparations and training, please read Medford Officials, Hallmark Prepare Ebola Response.
Medford Transcript – October 29, 2014

The following link provides additional helpful information:
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: Ebola

Other viruses in the community

This time of year we pay particular attention to a number of other viruses and illnesses that have the potential to impact our communities.

Enterovirus – Enterovirus is a common virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. A particular strain – EV-D68 – has been infecting children in recent months. It can begin with mild cold/flu-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sneezing and coughing. Children with asthma may be at higher risk for severe respiratory illness.

For more information on enterovirus, click here.

Influenza – The flu infects thousands of people in the United States each year, and many are at risk for health complications and even
death due to flu-related illnesses. Symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose, cough, sore throat and body aches. Even if you do not have symptoms, you can still have the flu virus and contribute to its spreading. Getting the flu shot is the best protection against developing and spreading flu for you, your family, friends and co-workers. Contrary to the common belief, you cannot get the flu from getting a flu shot. Remember, it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build up its antibodies and take effect.
For more information on influenza, click here.

Norovirus – Commonly known as the stomach flu, norovirus is highly contagious. It causes an average of 20 million illnesses and contributes to an average of 70,000 hospitalizations each year. Unlike influenza, there is no vaccine to protect against norovirus. Symptoms include stomach/gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

For more information on norovirus, click here.

What you can do to stay healthy!

The simplest and most effective way to prevent the spread of illness and viruses is practicing good hand hygiene – washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water and using hand sanitizing products when soap and water are not available. Also:

  • •  Cover mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.
  • •  Don’t share utensils and food when sick.
  • •  Stay at home when sick.
  • •  Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouths.
  • •  Clean and disinfect common areas.

For more on how to prevent the spread of viruses, click here.

Visiting a loved one in the hospital?

During the height of the flu season, or during outbreaks of other illnesses such as enterovirus and norovirus, hospitals may restrict visitation by friends and families to protect the patient. This includes young children visiting obstetrical units. If you have symptoms of cold or flu, or other respiratory illness, it is best to call ahead and check with the hospital to see if you will be allowed to visit.

Malden High School seniors Isaac Bethea and Michaela Ilebode hope they will never have to use CPR in a real-life situation, but thanks to the training they received on October 15, they both feel confident that they would know what to do in an emergency.

Isaac and Michaela were part of a group of 100 Malden High seniors who received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training as part of a community outreach program at Hallmark Health. The program, funded by the annual Stridefor Healthy Communities fundraising walk, has trained 900-1,200 high school students each of the past five years. Each student is given a Family & Friends CPR Anytime training kit developed by the American Heart Association. The kit includes an inflatable learning "Manikin," bilingual instructional DVDs, reminder cards, and full instructions, and Hallmark Health nurses and athletic trainers and paramedics from Cataldo Ambulance Service provide hands-on instruction.

According to Danielle Patturelli, RN, clinical outreach and education coordinator for cardiac and endovascular services at Hallmark Health, there has been a drop-off in the number of people learning CPR. "The program was put together to reach out to young people, get them engaged, and boost the number of trained individuals in our community. We are currently working with the high schools in Malden, Medford, Melrose and Wakefield, who have incorporated this training into their health and physical education curriculum."

The training doesn't end at the end of each session, either. Each student is asked to take their kit home and use it to train three other people. Michaela will be training her parents and 15-year-old brother, while Isaac is prepared to work with his younger cousins.

Patturelli adds that when CPR is administered before arriving at a hospital, the chance of survival for the patient increases three times. She feels confident that these training sessions are giving teens the skills to jump in to help in the event of an emergency.

As the respiratory illness known as enterovirus D68 continues to spread among children and young adults throughout the country, we asked Richard Olans, MD, chief of Infectious Diseases at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and member of Hallmark Health Medical Associates, to give us a basic understanding of enterovirus D68.

As Dr. Olans explains, there are many enteroviruses (hundreds). They live in the gut, but can infect numerous other organ systems. He points out that enteroviruses have been known for several decades, causing summer rash and respiratory illnesses and even viral meningitis, but new technologies have made their detection easier. This particular
enterovirus we are currently seeing (D68) primarily affects the lungs and airways.

Those who are most commonly being affected by D68 are children and young adults, typically between the ages of 2-18.

Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches. Most of the children who got very ill in the Midwest had difficulty breathing and some had wheezing. Many of these children had an underlying respiratory disease, such as asthma.

Dr. Olans is an advocate for "common sense precautions" when it comes to prevention. "Cover your cough, cough into your sleeve, and use old fashioned hand washing techniques," he says. "Viruses that come from the gut, like enteroviruses, are not killed with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, so everyone should get in the habit of washing their hands with soap and water for 30-60 seconds."

Dr. Olans says that there are no specific treatments or "magic bullet" antiviral medicines for people with enterovirus D68, so many of the over-the-counter cold and flu medications can help with the symptoms. Those with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized.

"Parents of kids with asthma or other reactive airway disease should update their asthma action plan with their primary care doctor, and be aware of the development of any worsening symptoms," says Dr. Olans. "Children should have their reliever medications with them at all times, and teachers and school nurses should be aware of any respiratory conditions."

For more information about enterovirus D68, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at

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