Mass. Hospital Stories from Around the State

An Oppressively Hot Holiday Week Doesn’t Slow Hospitals

Things moved at a slow pace during last week’s oppressive heat wave and mid-week Independence Day holiday. But MHA continued its focus on key priorities, including:

finalizing its recommendations to the House/Senate conference committee that is working to achieve a consensus approach to omnibus healthcare legislation;
weighing in with the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on the success of Massachusetts’ Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, and how the federal government and other states can learn from the Massachusetts experience; and
reviewing the ever-increasing data that demonstrates the danger of government-mandated nurse staffing ratios that will cost the Massachusetts healthcare system $1.31 billion in the first year alone.

Massachusetts hospitals, of course, didn’t alter their 24/7 mission a bit due to weather or holidays.  They were on high alert during the July 4 holidays, especially in and around Boston where close to 500,000 were estimated to have watched the fireworks and Boston Pops concert from both sides of the Charles River. DPH reported that on July 4, 99 people were seen at 11 medical tents (8 in Boston; 3 in Cambridge) but only one person was transported to a Boston hospital.

What follows are just some items from MHA member hospitals across the state that occurred in recent weeks.

Massachusetts Hospital Stories

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton recently awarded the Milton Public Schools two grants totaling $4,000 to help support programs that address students’ behavioral health needs.

A $2,000 grant to Milton High School will support the presentation of Drug Story Theatre to ninth and tenth grade students during the 2018 – 2019 school year. Drug Story Theatre is an evidence-based substance use treatment and prevention presentation whose cast members are young adults in recovery. The interactive performance focuses on how the early use of drugs, including marijuana, can affect the brains of teenagers.

The hospital also awarded a $2,000 grant to Tucker Elementary School to help the school promote the behavioral health needs of students through a program called “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.” The grant will help underwrite the cost of sending four teachers to a professional development program at the May Institute which will enable the school to implement the prevention program that has been advocated by the U.S Department of Education.

The $4,000 donation to the Milton Public Schools was through BID-Milton’s Community Benefits Program, which last year provided more than $230,000 in benefits to the Town of Milton and its residents.


Boston Children's Hospital

The Massachusetts life sciences sector is a jewel of the commonwealth that was recently boosted through Governor Baker’s signing of a life sciences bond bill that will devote more than $500 million to the sector. That investment builds on former Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1 billion life sciences effort. An important component of the sector over the years has been the state’s hospital community. The research and clinical trials conducted at Massachusetts hospitals lead to the commonwealth receiving more per-capita National Institutes of Health funding than any other state.

Recently, Boston Children’s Hospital announced that it has received proceeds from the sale of royalties related to Vonvendi, a drug developed at Boston Children’s and marketed by Shire Pharmaceuticals. Boston Children’s announced that a portion of proceeds from the transaction will be directed back into its charitable mission, including its pediatric medical research pipeline.

Vonvendi, a recombinant drug used to treat a common bleeding disorder called von Willebrand disease, is based on patented technology developed by researchers at Boston Children’s.  Vonvendi was brought to market through licensing agreements between the Boston Children’s Technology Innovation and Development Office and Baxalta, which merged with Shire in 2016.

The research enterprise at Boston Children’s, the largest pediatric medical center of its kind in the world, comprises more than 3,000 scientists.


Hebrew SeniorLife

Chris Alburger is the first person to be named the LGBTQ Chaplain Resident at Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL). The position represents the first time a clinical pastoral education (CPE) program has educated a chaplain resident specifically for LGBT senior care.

HSL’s Clinical Pastoral Education program trains rabbis, rabbinical and seminary students, leaders of many faiths, and qualified health care professionals to become chaplains. It’s also part of Hebrew SeniorLife’s efforts to create a welcoming, inclusive environment for LGBTQ patients, residents, and staff.

In a blog posting at HSL’s website, Alburger said, “LGBTQ elders are often forgotten, but not here – Hebrew SeniorLife is truly leading the way. It’s incredibly moving to see people who’ve been closeted due to stigma being treated with sensitive care at the end of their lives.”


Lawrence General Hospital

Community hospitals are getting the job done close to the homes of patients, even with procedures that some may think merit involvement by large academic medical centers.

Take for instance, percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI), which were formerly known as angioplasty with stent. That’s the procedure that uses a catheter (a thin flexible tube) to place a small structure called a stent to open up blood vessels in the heart that have been narrowed by plaque buildup (known as atherosclerosis).

This month, Lawrence General celebrates 10 years of performing PCI – or more than 2,000 procedures.

“Percutaneous Coronary Interventions are most effective when completed within 90 minutes of the patient’s arrival to the hospital, which is known as the door-to-balloon time, or the time to open the blocked artery,” said Kathy Caredeo, R.N., Lawrence General’s director of Cardiovascular Services and Ambulatory Procedures. “At Lawrence General, the average door-to-balloon time is 65 minutes.”


Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Reza Dana, M.D., the Claes H. Dohlman Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Director of Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, has been awarded a Research to Prevent Blindness Stein Innovation Award. The $300,000 award over three years will help Dana develop and test the efficacy of novel, biocompatible adhesives to prevent and/or mitigate vision loss caused by corneal injuries and immune-mediated corneal damage. This research could revolutionize treatment for many patients with severe corneal injuries and corneal thinning as a result of infection and severe inflammation.

Dana is one of just 11 researchers nationwide to have received the award, which was established in 2014 to provide flexible funding to scientists pursuing leading edge research on blinding diseases.


Tufts Medical Center

For those that live near a big academic medical center that hospital is their “community” hospitals. And the big AMCs are the facilities that are able to handle the most complex, demanding, and oftentimes innovative procedures.

Take Tufts Medical Center, which last month performed its 500th heart transplant.  Senior Cardiothoracic Surgeon Hassan Rastegar, M.D., performed the procedure.

“I am proud to have been a part of the team that was present during the first-ever heart transplant at Tufts Medical Center in 1985,” said Deeb Salem, M.D., Co-Interim CEO at Tufts Medical Center. “The program has grown exponentially in 33 years and now represents the gold standard for cardiac transplantation in all of New England.”

Since 2000, Tufts MC has performed the most heart transplants in New England (405), and in 2016, Tufts MC completed 56 heart transplants, which ranked among the top-10 heart transplant programs in the country for volume. According to the most recent Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients data, one-year survival for Tufts Medical Center’s heart transplant patients exceeds 95 percent, well above the national average of 91 percent.

The Medical Center is also a national leader in the placement of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) - mechanical heart pumps used for treating patients with end-stage heart failure.


Annual Emergency Medicine Conference

Friday, September 14; 8:30 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Massachusetts emergency departments are tasked with myriad regulatory compliance issues while also adapting to evolving treatment issues that pose increasing complexity. At this year’s program, we will feature healthcare regulatory expert George Mills, currently with JLL, but with 14 years of experience at The Joint Commission, serving as its director of engineering for the last six years. Some of the topics Mills will discuss include the effect on ED suite versus open room concepts, life safety code requirements, and ligature standards to reduce suicide and self-harm. We will also look at best practices in medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs from a couple of our member hospitals. We’ll conclude with an in-depth discussion on clinician burnout and provide tangible action plans for prevention and resilience. We hope you'll join us this year! Review the agenda and registration information here.

John LoDico, Editor