Each year, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognize World TB Day on March 24. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).
“There are many individuals and organizations working in effective and engaging ways to end tuberculosis in the United States. The CDC and Prevention (CDC) U.S. TB Elimination Champions provides an opportunity to recognize accomplishments and learn best practices from people who are making a significant contribution to preventing and controlling TB.” (Source)
Harrington HealthCare was honored to receive the 2016 TB Elimination Champion Award for its efforts to prevent and control TB. Below is a summary of what we sent to the CDC for consideration in deciding this year’s champions:
Harrington Hospital TB Clinic, Building Partnerships
Located between Boston and Springfield, MA, Harrington’s TB Clinic has managed to survive during times when major budget cuts in public health funding have led to the closure of other clinics throughout the state. This is due to the unique collaborations between a not-for-profit community-based hospital, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health TB Division, and eight local town boards of health (LBOH).
Despite significant budget cuts at both state and federal levels, Harrington has maintained their pledge to the prevention and control of TB. The clinic is staffed on a part-time basis by three people: an doctor, a medical office assistant, and a registered nurse. The TB Clinic nurse also serves as the public health nurse for the eight LBOH’s.
Patients can be seen in both the clinic and home setting for DOT visits and LBOH nurse case management. This allows the clinic nurse to develop holistic plans of care for TB patients and their families. The physical, emotional, psychological, and cultural needs of patients are taken into consideration when plans are developed.
The preventive health/TB clinic is also the vaccine for children program (VFC) provider on behalf of the eight LBOH’s. This allows Harrington to provide much needed vaccinations and assistance with health care coverage to a population that is often medically under served.
The symbiotic relationship between the hospital’s TB clinic and local and state public health departments fosters engagements of local church and community organizations. These organizations are often called upon for assistance with other patient and family needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. This local TB prevention and treatment program is an asset to the community.