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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 identify certain health care priorities, which are based on statewide needs identified by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services in 2007:

  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 Programs


Asthma Initiative:
Continuing to pursue the increased statistics in asthma and respiratory-related conditions, Harrington has collaborated with two medical students from UMass to pursue a multilingual and multi-platform approach to asthma education. One of the medical students was part of the 2015 clerkship team and expressed an interest in pursuing research as part of his capstone project.

Through 2016 and over the next 2-3 years, collaboratively, the goal is to create an SMS Texting Program for patients and parents of pediatric patients, which will enhance the understanding of medical equipment and medication use. Our goals are:

  1. Identify an SMS educational vendor to utilize for patient education and data measuring initiative;
  2.  Implement a program to better educate our community on asthma medical and equipment use;
  3. Enhance the Harrington website to create an asthma education portal, including nationally-recognized instructional videos and patient information – in both English and Spanish.

We hope as a result of this initiative, qualitative data will suggest that over time we have decreased the number of revisits to the Emergency Department for asthmatic-relation conditions; decreased the number of patients who fail to show up for appointments or follow-ups, and streamlined and standardized access to education for patients of all ages and in all stages of care.

Health Needs Assessment
In addition, Harrington will be completing its Health Needs Assessment by the end of calendar year 2016.

We have partnered with DataStar to administer and tabulate a qualitative-driven survey, targeting 500 completed surveys utilizing a combination of email, social media, and other methods. The survey will closely mirror questions asked in 2010 for comparison purposes, but will be modified as necessary to reflect current day trending health topics and needs.

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

2014 and 2015

Harrington has taken several measures to create public education opportunities and programs that address some of the health disparities found in our 2013 HNA (see below).

Cardiovascular Disease

Our Community Outreach Coordinator and CPR instructor have teamed up for most of 2014 and 2015 to create a regional education campaign on the importance of Hands-Free CPR. Many people are reluctant to offer CPR because of the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation efforts. Now, with Hands-Free CPR, the ability to save a life is easier. Our coordinators have a goal to educate 5,000 people in Hands-Free technique. They have visited local communities, stores, health fairs, and other public forums and will continue the education through 2015.

In November of 2015, Harrington teamed up with the Southbridge Middle and High School to educate every student on Hands-Free CPR and AED use. With more than six health educators, Harrington spent a day on campus and taught more than 1,350 individuals.

The middle-high school was one of 250 schools in the country to be awarded the American Heart Association-Ross CPR in High Schools grant of $2,000.


Some statistics from our HNA revealed that asthma rates in the community are significantly higher than the state average, especially when considering asthmatic visits to the Emergency Department. In October 2014, Harrington received a grant from UMass Medical School Population Health Clerkship and had five students work on campus for two weeks to begin examining the causes for the higher incident rates.

Four medical students and one nursing student spent time interviewing many local agencies, physicians, families, and organizations closest to the asthmatic population. Their research was presented to the CHNA5 group on October 31. The summary of their findings included the need to incorporate more cessation resources and classes in the region, providing proper education for inhalers and nebulizers, having better-established translation services and resources for non-English speaking families, and an increased look at poor housing conditions as they relate to asthmatic conditions.

The 2014 student presentation can be found here (Opens in PowerPoint).

In 2015, a separate group of students from the UMass Population Health Clerkship came to Harrington again for a two-week study. These students focused on the education component of asthma and prepared a presentation on action plans to reduce the complexity of education resources, and remove barriers to care for families of all socioeconomic levels. Harrington is working to fulfill these action plans.

The 2015 student presentation can be found here (opens in Adobe).

Mental/Behavioral Health

Harrington continues to hire new psychiatrists and mental health clinicians, many who are bilingual, to expand access to mental and behavioral health services across South Central Massachusetts. There is a recognizable need for additional clinics, as well as barriers in public transportation.

We have some of the most robust programs in the region, including substance abuse and recovery, Suboxone clinics, and partial hospitalization programs, which can allow an individual to successfully detox without losing their jobs or families.

In late 2014 one of our adult behavioral health facilities has also strengthened its partnership with the local District Court to provide a program for individuals with court-ordered treatment. We assist these community members who might otherwise end up incarcerated. With assistance from the Towns of Webster and Dudley and Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis, we are a collaborative resource into opening the Southern Worcester County Resource Center —  offering drug testing and comprehensive case management in an effort to prevent offenders from repeating their crimes

We also received a $3.5 million grant from Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. The grant centers on the implementation of the “Medical Home Model” — integrating licensed social workers and case managers into internal medicine and family practice offices to help to identify at-risk patients and to screen patients for mental health and substance issues. The investment will help secure additional access to behavioral health services for the community.

Cancer Mortality

One of the findings within the HNA was that lung cancer rates are high – often undetected until a dangerous or incurable stage.

In 2015, Harrington has begun investigating the option to offer early detection lung cancer CT screenings to its at-risk patients. Education through primary care offices and other avenues will identify those who meet required guidelines and offer them a quick, low-dose CT scan to detect any abnormalities. This testing has the potential to identify cancer at an earlier stage. Lung cancer, when caught at Stage 1 or 2, is a curable and manageable disease. It is the intention of Harrington’s Diagnostic Imaging Department and our Cancer Center to capture these patients when treatment is still a viable and reasonable solution.

Through working with state guidelines and other policies, Harrington will continue to investigate the testing and supportive services for patients, including cessation resources in the community.

CHA: July-December 2013

In accordance with the AG guidelines, a Health Assessment must be produced every three years to ensure the proper populations are receiving the necessary medical care and education. In 2013, Harrington recognized the need to update our assessment data and community information from the previous study. A five-member committee was organized in early 2013. The groups’ leadership came from the Harrington Marketing Department. Members represented community liaisons, health professionals and town/league representatives, including current Harrington Hospital Board Member. Meetings were held from January to December.

Survey Overview

The committee enlisted the assistance of the Institute for Community Health out of Boston to collect, analyze and produce a written report on the health deficits in Harrington’s twenty zip code catchment area.

Harrington and ICH worked closely from July to December 2013 to collect and report on data.

This assessment involved a mixed-methods approach including extensive review of secondary community data sources across a variety of socio-demographic and health indicators for the catchment area compared to the state of Massachusetts, as well as three focus groups with a total of 24 community residents and key stakeholders belonging to key populations of interest: senior citizens, Latinos, and substance users in recovery.

For secondary data gathering, top health concerns for the catchment area were prioritized based on the average percent difference compared to Massachusetts across secondary data indicators. Key themes identified through the three focus groups were also considered. Top health concerns that emerged included Cardiovascular Disease/Respiratory Health, Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer Mortality, Mental Health, and Teen Pregnancy.

Additional community-wide concerns were also identified through the three focus groups conducted: Crime and Safety, especially amongst youth; Social Concerns Affecting Youth, especially lack of positive community activities for youth; and Substance Abuse, including prescription drug abuse and newer drug use amongst youth.

Results of the HNA can be viewed by clicking on the links below
(all links open in PDF format):

For the Final report, click this link
For the Secondary Data Report, click this link
For the Focus Group Data Report, click this link 


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As we get closer and closer to the completion of Harrington's new dual diagnosis unit in Webster, it couldn't come at a better time. The daily headlines of every newspaper and media outlet say enough about the overwhelming epidemic in our country.

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