When I look back at Fiscal Year 2017, I see a year of resolve, determination, stretching and strengthening. It was a year when I experienced the fortitude of everyone in our healthcare system and the cohesion of purpose displayed by them every day both here and in our physician offices. There were challenges to be met, but looking at the strength and character of those around me, I knew (as I always say) that no one was better positioned than us to meet those challenges. Thanks to the contributions and sacrifices of everyone within our healthcare system, we were well positioned in FY 2017 to set sail with the wind at our back.
We were determined…
From the Board of Trustees to the medical staff to hospital and physician office personnel as well as volunteers, much effort was made and sustained on all fronts to continue expanding our services and elevate our programs. It was clear in every meeting and every decision made that there was no letting up on our mission to provide exceptional healthcare services to our community where and when they needed it.
We stretched ourselves…
Much discussion was had over availability of care and the steps we might take to improve access. We also wanted to make healthcare convenient for our community. After considerable thought, Milford Regional partnered with our physician practice group, Tri-County Medical Associates (now Milford Regional Physician Group), to open three, new urgent care centers in Hopkinton, Northbridge and Milford. Strategically located to accommodate patients in the 20+ towns we serve, urgent care has provided convenient, expeditious care to patients throughout our service area. I am pleased to report that the response from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.
In a similar regard, our focus on meeting the needs of the community and access coincided with the American Red Cross’s need for blood donation space. Though Milford Regional had provided temporary space for blood donations throughout the years, in 2017, we created permanent space for a Blood Donation Center. Since the Center’s opening, this improved access for donors has significantly increased blood donations here at the Medical Center.
Clinically, continuous effort to maintain and upgrade our diagnostic and surgical equipment as well as system’s technologies was ongoing. Though much of this important oversight and coordination does not generally receive the spotlight, the integrity of our services depends upon it and those responsible for overseeing it are to be commended. A high priority in FY 2017 was the addition of a new eICU program (offered through UMass Memorial) which provides off-hour intensivist support to Milford Regional’s six intensivists through live audio and video feed in the ICU. This highly effective electronic intensivist program ensures critically ill patients have access to intensivist care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Milford Regional also took center stage in 2017 as the first hospital in our region to offer a new, breakthrough prostate biopsy technology called 3D MRI/Ultrasound Fusion. This advanced, targeted approach to prostate biopsy can better identify and detect otherwise invisible cancers.
We strengthened ourselves…
From an expanding physician base to growing partnerships to local and national recognitions, Milford Regional became stronger as a regional healthcare system in FY 2017. One significant step taken by our Board of Trustees to better relay the strength of our healthcare system was to create a mutual identity for our physician practice group and hospital. In the fall of 2017, the Board approved changing Tri-County Medical Associates’ name to Milford Regional Physician Group effective January 1, 2018. Because of this unified identity, our healthcare system will be strengthened as “Milford Regional” blankets our service area at the Physician Group’s 35 practice locations. As you will see in this annual report, Milford Regional Physician Group continued excelling in quality measures and patient satisfaction, all while acquiring outstanding physicians for area practices and urgent care. We also welcomed Brigham and Women’s Neurosurgery of Milford through a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Their practice, conveniently located in our Hill Health Center, is off to a great start. Two neurosurgeons will be joined by a third in January 2018, to meet the high demand for spine surgery.
Accolades were in abundance at Milford Regional as well in FY 2017 both locally and nationally. Having undergone a rigorous evaluation process that requires compliance with quality standards, several programs were recognized for true excellence in care. Two of our programs received re-accreditation by the American College of Surgeons— The Breast Center and our cancer program. Our clinical laboratory was re-accredited by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists, and our Blood Bank was awarded re-accreditation by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). Plus, Our cardiac rehabilitation program received certification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
Milford Regional also received hospital-wide recognitions in FY 2017 that affirmed the Medical Center’s ongoing commitment to excellence in patient care. Patient safety, a top priority at Milford Regional, was recognized twice in 2017 with an ‘A’ Health Safety Grade through a semiannual hospital survey conducted by the Leapfrog Group, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to driving quality and safety in the U.S. healthcare system. In addition, knowing that technology plays an increasingly significant role in the delivery of quality healthcare made our selection as a 2017 Most Wired Hospital all the more meaningful. We were one of only nine hospitals in Massachusetts selected to receive this honor. Our patients, as well, demonstrated their loyalty and support to us, once again, by voting Milford Regional the #1 Regional Favorite Hospital through the Community Newspaper Company’s annual Readers Choice Award. Receiving this regional award by residents in the surrounding communities means everything to us because our reason for being is to serve their healthcare needs. If residents are pleased with the care we provide, then we are fulfilling our mission.
And we sailed…
Entering FY 2017, we were prepared as a healthcare system to take on the challenges that lay before us. As I noted in this letter, it was a year that required much of everyone, and it was through everyone’s hard work and determination that we finished the year as a stronger institution both financially and collectively. Working closely together, we set a course and held to it. Our successes this past year were that much sweeter because we achieved them as a team.
Looking forward, I am excited about our prospects in FY 2018. Growing partnerships with prestigious healthcare systems in Boston and Worcester; a burgeoning medical staff and expanded services forecast smooth sailing ahead. I am as enthusiastic today about Milford Regional Healthcare System as I have ever been in my 25-year career here. There are no finer individuals than those associated with this stalwart organization, and they are the reason we remain such a strong regional healthcare system.
Here’s to a new year with great promise of things to come,
Edward J. Kelly
President & CEO, Milford Regional Medical Center