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Community Benefits & Health Assessment

Each year, Harrington HealthCare works in conjunction with its Community Health Network, the Massachusetts Hospital Association and the office of the Attorney General (AG) to produce a Community Benefits Report, which highlights the previous fiscal year’s services, outreach and education to our most deserving populations. Our programs are a collaboration of medical services within Harrington, as well as outside organizations and businesses that share the desire to help educate the public, prevent chronic diseases and reduce health disparities.

Community Benefits and State-Wide Health Initiatives

The Community Benefits guidelines highlight certain health care priorities which are based on statewide needs identified by the Attorney General’s Office in 2009:

  1. Supporting Health Care Reform
  2. Chronic Disease Management in Disadvantaged Population
  3. Reducing Health Disparities
  4. Promoting Wellness of Vulnerable Populations
  5. Address Unmet Health Needs of the Uninsured

Community Benefits Mission Statement

The mission of Harrington HealthCare is to build healthier communities by providing education and outreach for identified health deficits through collaborative initiatives and programs.

Community Benefits Summary – 2016:

UMass Student Capstone Project:
In an update from 2015, students from UMass Medical School expressed interest in pursuing a capstone with Harrington to manage a population of patients with a specific health concern. Initially, the discussion favored asthmatic patients, primarily those seen over multiple visits in the Emergency Care Center. Over time, the trend has shown those patients are being managed better and re-admission rates aren’t as significant.

Currently, a task force within Harrington is exploring whether there is a more suitable population for an SMS-texting program. Ideally, patients would be enrolled and monitored via text messages and then provided with appointment reminders, educational video links and advice to help manage their illness or health disparity.

By the end of Quarter 1 in 2017, we will have:

  1. Identified whether an SMS texting program is feasible for Harrington to adopt;
  2. If so, identify an SMS educational vendor to utilize for patient education and data measuring initiative;
  3. Identify the health concern which will be used as a pilot group for this program;
  4. Identify staff within an outpatient basis who will manage this program

Health Needs Assessment (HNA)

Harrington has completed a new Health Needs Assessment as of December 31, 2016.

We partnered with DataStar to administer and tabulate a qualitative-driven survey, targeting 500 completed surveys utilizing a combination of email and social media.

Secondary data collection has also been conducted by internal members of Harrington’s team and utilized alongside the primary survey findings.

For the 2016 HNA Report, click here.
For the complete 2016 Health Needs Assessment survey, click here.

HNA Findings

The data collected from the Health Needs Assessment spread over a variety of categories, including general health, pediatric health, adolescent health, women’s health and senior health.

We collected 591 responses via email. 94% of our responses from our email database reach, 4% from our internal audience electronic letter and 4% from our targeted Facebook campaign.


For overall community health concerns, 68% of participants cited obesity, followed by cancer (61%), opioid/heroin addiction (58%), mental health disorders/depression (57%) and diabetes (54%).

The top five survey answers in additional categories were as follows:

Pediatric Health:
Behavioral Health
General Surgery
Lyme Disease
Pediatrician Volume

Adolescent Health:
Depression/Behavioral Health
Teen Pregnancy
ADHD/Related Conditions

Womens’ Health:
(lack of) After-Hours Support
High-Risk Pregnancy/Services
(lack of) Doula/Midwifery
Availability of dedicated OB services
Availability of Parenting Support Classes

Senior Health:
Heart Disease

We also asked participants; overall, what changes they thought would make the most impact in improving the health of the community. The top five suggestions were:
Creating more recreational facilities
Availability of healthier food
Better access to primary care physicians
More job opportunities
Better access to mental health services


Data was also gathered from local and national resources like the American Cancer Registry and US Census, as well as Harrington patient reports, i.e. medical diagnosis codes at Emergency Room visits.

The top five diagnoses in our Emergency Departments for Fiscal Year 2016 included abdominal or pelvic pain, back pain (dorsalgia), chest/thoracic pain, dislocation of joint or sprain and nausea/vomiting. The top ten diagnoses seen in the Emergency Departments comprise just fewer than 30% of the total patient Emergency Department encounters for FY2016.

Our Cancer Center data includes all patients who had at least one course of treatment at our Southbridge location from 2014-2016 (to date of collection: November, 2016).

In comparing cancer diagnoses by gender, for 2015, the top five cancers included breast (60 cases), lung (48 cases), prostate (22 cases), blood and bone marrow (17 cases) and colon (15 cases).

The US Census revealed the top 2 causes of death for the 150,000 patients served were heart disease and cancer.

Initiatives Following Health Assessment

March 2017: Harrington has created a small task force including hospital employees and municipal representatives. Our main goal is to come up with a plan to combine, review and then “market” all of the resources available in the communities. There is the consensus that there are a lot of wonderful resources, but the knowledge to our residents about who they can call for assistance is widely unknown.

Phase I of this project (identifying manpower to collaborate a resource guide) is in the works. We hope to have a completed resource guide by June 2017 and then will work on how to implement this guide to the communities we serve.



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