Milford Hospital opened on September 1, 1903. The original land and buildings were donated by Governor and Mrs. Eben S. Draper. Here is a chronological history of Milford Regional.
1903 - 1999
Continuing support from the community has enabled the hospital to grow and keep pace with technological advances and local needs. A school for training nurses operated here from 1905 to 1958 and some still work for the hospital. Facilities were enlarged in 1964, 1972 and in 1974. Milford Hospital merged with Whitinsville Hospital. A satellite, the Franklin Health Center opened as a primary care neighborhood health center. It was renamed in 1984 as the Pastorello Health Center and in 1989 moved into a new expanded facility. The name was changed once more, to the Pastorello Medical Center. A major addition to the hospital, the John Draper Gannett wing was opened in 1982. The Whitinsville Division became an urgent care center called Whitinsville Medical Center, which now houses several physician practices and hospital services.
Milford Regional Medical Center is a modern, full service facility offering high quality health care to people in 20+ communities. In 1991, Milford Regional was the first hospital to become a major affiliate of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. In 1994, Milford Regional opened an outpatient building, the Hyman & Shirley Hill Health Center. In 1996, renovation work was completed on the fourth and fifth floor. In 1997, renovations took place on the first floor to accommodate an expanded pulmonary/respiratory department and enhanced radiology department, which included the installation of a state-of-the-art CT Scanner. Meeting space was also expanded with the addition of the Physicians Conference Center adjacent to the main lobby. Construction of a fourth floor addition to the Hyman & Shirley Hill Health Center dedicated to women’s health (called the Women’s Pavilion) was begun in October of 1997. That same month, the hospital merged with the Visiting Nurse Association of the Greater Milford-Northbridge Area.
In May of 1998, one of Central Massachusetts’ most up-to-date and technologically advanced diagnostic centers for women’s health, the Women’s Pavilion, opened its doors to the community. At the same time, the hospital’s affiliated site—Whitinsville Medical Center underwent renovations to better accommodate the facility’s expanded use as both an urgent care and family practice facility. That same year, the lab underwent over a million dollars worth of renovations.
1999 was an affirmation of Milford Regional’s mission to “do the basics well." The efforts of our physicians, staff and volunteers focusing on the basics and providing the highest quality services to our patients were rewarded in a special way when Milford Regional was named one of the 100 Top Hospitals™ in the nation by HCIA (a health data firm) and Health Network (a cable and Internet company)! In our diagnostic area,we installed two advanced nuclear medicine gamma cameras for radiology and also brought on a new, highly skilled radiology team to assure not only superior quality in diagnostic care, but the promise of cutting-edge technological procedures. Our focus on family led to a full renovation and beautification of our maternity center, access to specialists in high risk pregnancy and genetics, the opening of the Young Women Health Center (for adolescents and young adults ages 11 - 25) and the introduction of an in-house pediatric program— a collaboration with the UMass Memorial Department of Pediatrics to provide around-the-clock pediatric care. Our longstanding relationship with UMass Memorial also led to the addition of a new training program in Family Medicine. Plus, our ever-growing base of physicians translated this year into expanded pediatric and primary care services.
2000 - 2003
In 2000, Milford Regional was recognized locally, regionally and nationally as: area residents’ “number one” choice for patient care; the laboratory chosen regionally for commendation on its community service; and the hospital earning the distinction, for the second consecutive year, as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals™. Milford Regional also bolstered diagnostic imaging services with a $2+ million investment in a new,stationary MRI, cutting edge Interventional Radiology equipment and the most effective up-to-date X-ray equipment in the area. A strong commitment and emphasis on patient care further resulted in a hospital-wide pain management program and the installation of a fully-automated medication dispensing system. Milford Regional’s continued emphasis on the family also brought about renovations on the fourth floor to better accommodate pediatric patients. In addition, our physician base continued to grow in a variety of disciplines, driving our overall active medical staff number up to 167!
In 2001, Milford Regional’s continued focus on “doing the basics well” translated into dynamic increases in patient numbers across the board– inpatient volume increased more than 10%; outpatient increased 17%; MRI procedures grew at 37% and births were up 28% (a record-breaking 926 births!). Nearly $3 million was expended on state-of-the-art medical equipment, including $300,000 in surgical equipment to provide patients with the very latest in minimally invasive procedures and breast cancer biopsies. Milford Regional also invested over $300,000 in an electronic medical record-keeping system for the VNA to eliminate redundant paperwork and provide better patient care for our home health patients. Milford Regional’s emphasis on quality care was recognized in 2001 by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations [JCAHO], the nation’s predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. During its four-day survey, both the hospital and VNA met, and in many cases, exceeded the high standards set by the Commission with overall scores registering in the upper 90s.
2002 - 2003
2002 was a year of positioning and preparing for Milford Regional. The Emergency Department was expanded and renovated, increasing the number of patient beds from 17 to 27 with the addition of ten new treatment rooms. The $3 million project also improved patient flow and enhanced confidentiality through a redesign of the registration area. A second CT scanner was installed to accommodate an increase in scans for emergency department trauma cases as well as outpatient procedures. The $1 million investment nearly doubles the number of scans done previously on the new unit alone! 2002 also witnessed an expansion in surgical services with the addition of surgical specialties including joint reconstruction, sports medicine, hand and plastic. At year end, plans were finalized to bring on a new anesthesiology team, a general and thoracic surgeon as well as surgical mid-level providers. The year culminated with state approval to build a three-story addition to the hospital. The 46,000 square foot structure was designed to house 24 medical/surgical beds, a state-of-the-art surgical center with eight operating rooms, as well as much needed office and meeting space. In addition, the Laboratory would gain 4,200 square feet of space. Later adjustments to the plans added a second three-story structure to accommodate surgical support space, expanded maternity, a new kitchen and office space. This second structure (called Phase One) became the first to be built and completed at the end of 2003.
Milford Regional also celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2003, honoring the hospital’s heritage by reviving the annual gala which was known in its time as the “social event of the season,”as well as the Monster Field Day, a 1900 turn-of-the-century,community-sponsored fundraising event in support of the original hospital’s construction. Clinically, advances were achieved to improve and expedite patient care in surgery and diagnostics, including a non-invasive technology to eliminate kidney stones, highly sensitive endoscopic sinus surgery equipment aided by CT scan, and filmless radiology. Partnerships were also established with renowned tertiary care facilities to expand specialized services in both infertility and pediatric cardiology on our campus.
2004 - 2005
2004 was a transformation one for the hospital. Finishing touches were made on the hospital’s largest building project to date, a $45 million, 70,000 square-foot patient care addition. The most notable enhancement in this project (which also includes a new medical/surgical floor, nursery, postpartum rooms and cafeteria) is the new surgery center, which provides easy access to all surgical services in one centralized location. This state-of-the-art facility sets Milford Regional apart as the only hospital in Massachusetts with a totally integrated surgical environment. Now being studied and replicated by the states’ leading medical institutions, the eight, new operating rooms offer some of the most sophisticated endoscopic devices available where nearly everything is suspended from an overhead mounting system and controlled by the surgical team through an electronic system. High quality images and patient data can be viewed on flat screen monitors without distractions from the multitudes of electronic technologies and running cords that line the floor of most operating rooms today. Two of the operating rooms are equipped with laminar flow ventilation—a $200,000 investment which provides an added layer of protection against infections during sensitive orthopedic procedures. The technological advancements offered through these integrated operating suites will allow Milford Regional surgeons to take full advantage of the latest breakthroughs in advanced minimally invasive surgery.
To better reflect Milford Regional’s growing distinction as one of the area’s finest regional healthcare facilities and the vast array of services offered here which are not typically found in an acute-care hospital setting, 2004 was also the defining year when Milford-Whitinsville Regional Hospital changed its name to Milford Regional Medical Center– setting the stage for a whole new era in healthcare.
Following several years of a major building expansion at the medical center, the year 2005 was spent refocusing on programs and services. The ICU got a half million dollar facelift and the Maternity Center’s expansion and renovation was completed, but 2005's primary emphasis was on direct patient care. Milford Regional received certification as a Primary Stroke Center– the new standard for excellence in care of stroke patients– from the Department of Public Health. Over $600,000 was invested in the Endoscopy Department to purchase the most up-to-date scopes and equipment, providing the highest quality images available for procedures involving the stomach, intestines and associated organs. Milford Regional’s surgical services were enhanced by the addition of ;several general surgeons with expertise in advanced laparoscopic surgery. New software was purchased to assist the orthopedic surgeons in precision fitting a patient’s prosthesis for joint replacement surgery. Level of Consciousness monitors were installed in the operating rooms to provide anesthesiologists with supplemental data on a patient’s brain activity during surgery. And cardiologists began placing implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) in patients with high-risk heart conditions that might induce or be susceptible to rapid heart rhythms.
Milford Regional was also the first community hospital in the state to achieve Total Lab Automation in 2005. This cutting edge technological advancement combines experienced lab technicians with robotics and a conveyor system to streamline the processing, analysis and storage of laboratory specimens. Ultimately, it all comes down to a faster diagnosis and treatment of patients. Patient convenience, always a priority, was heightened with a new call-in registration line, allowing for registration before arrival at the medical center. And several of Milford Regional’s staff were distinguished in their areas of service with prestigious awards from the state. All of these achievements culminated in Milford Regional being recognized as a Top Growth Company by the Worcester Business Journal in 2005.
2006 - 2007
In 2006, Milford Regional led the way, once again, in the area of diagnostics with the acquisition of two new CT scanners, two digital mammography units and four advanced ultrasound machines. On the technical front, MRMC implemented a computerized clinical documentation system, which electronically records all information relating to a patient’s nursing care. This is a critical step in the development of a complete electronic medical record’s system, which MRMC anticipates achieving in two to three years. Renovations also took place in several sections of the Gannett nursing unit and a major cosmetic upgrade was completed to the outpatient building, Hill Health Center.
On the programmatic side, a major achievement was the completion of an agreement with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to partner with MRMC in providing world class, comprehensive cancer care services in Milford. In addition, a Multiple Sclerosis Center was established to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary services to MS patients.
Physician services also expanded with Tri-County Medical Associates’ (TCMA) hospitalist program, which provide MRMC patients with direct, daily care to physicians whose entire focus is inpatient care. Along the same lines, TCMA enhanced its intensivist program providing critical care specialists to care for the medical center’s most acutely ill patients.
The year 2007 was the culmination of several intensive years of planning, building and, ultimately, opening of our new Cancer Center. The new, 54,000 square foot structure brought a whole new level of cancer care to our region. A partnership between Milford Regional and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center now means world renowned cancer care, including radiation therapy and clinical trials, will be easily accessible to our patients.
Expanded cancer care also brought with it expansion in diagnostic imaging and laboratory. CT, MRI, diagnostic radiology and, eventually, PET, are offered within the Cancer Center as well as convenient laboratory services. These two departments also witnessed expansion in and outside the Medical Center with the installation of a third,digital mammography unit in the Women’s Pavilion and the addition of a fifth off-site laboratory site in Upton.
Expanding care also required renovating space within our Medical Center. Renovations in our old operating room area introduced much needed space for outpatient services including diabetes, nutrition, pulmonary, EEG/EMG and multiple sclerosis. Their move freed up room for a new cardiac catheterization lab scheduled to open in 2008. Plus, three new Emergency Department treatment rooms were added to accommodate increasing demand through the departure of the Volunteer Department to a room on the second floor. Renovations to the Gannett nursing unit and floor were also completed. Of course, expanded services also mean greater parking needs, which were addressed with the addition of a new parking lot.
Success was further measured this year through a Joint Commission survey in February that not only fully accredited our Medical Center for another three years, but also commended our full compliance related to the National Patient Safety Goals. The VNA was also commended for results from a patient satisfaction survey that far exceeded the survey scores of other home health agencies throughout New England.
With growth comes the need, at times, for change. The affiliation in 2007 between Tri-County Medical Associates, Inc. (TCMA-our physician practice group) and Partners Community Healthcare, Inc., the largest physicians’ network in the state, developed from their mutual interest in providing the very highest standards of patient care. Patients benefit from a pro-active model of care management including an electronic medical records system, which Milford Regional was also in the midst of acquiring as well.
2008 - 2009
In 2008, Milford Regional’s focus turned to expansion of our cardiovascular services department as well as our physician base. The new cardiac catheterization lab brings the gold standard of care in cardiac diagnostics to the Medical Center. This $3 million investment ensures the very latest in all digital cardiovascular and interventional X-ray imaging to accommodate the Milford Regional’s current diagnostic needs, as well as future plans to perform minimally invasive treatments such as angioplasty.
To meet the ever increasing demand for specialists at the Medical Center, Milford Regional was also fortunate to draw the interest of a stellar group of physicians in orthopedics, general surgery, pain management, pulmonary care, hand surgery, emergency care and urology. In addition, the Medical Center’s hospitalists expanded their care for Tri-County Medical Associate’s patients to 24/7 coverage. This, the fastest growing medical specialty in the United States, refers to in-house physicians who are solely responsible for overseeing inpatient care.
2008 was also a year of reaching out and collaboration. Our affiliation with UMass Memorial Health Care and the University of Massachusetts Medical School has brought some of the area’s finest young Internal, Family and Emergency physicians to our facility through the residency program, many of whom join the Medical Center upon completion of the training. This collaboration has also provided local access to on-site specialists in sub-specialties such as perinatology, geneticist, pediatric urology and pediatric cardiology. UMass Memorial also provides pediatricians to staff KidCare PM,the Medical Center’s after-hours pediatric service. In the area of oncology services,Milford Regional’s recent partnership with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center has brought world renowned cancer care close to home. Plus, our partnership with Reproductive Science Center has brought the expertise of some of the field’s reproductive pioneers to the Medical Center.
Milford Regional also initiated and participated in community endeavors to enhance the health and well being of residents within the Medical Center’s 20+ town service area. A new partnership with Milford’s Senior Center has provided opportunities for expanded senior services. Other healthcare initiatives included continued support of school-based health centers at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School and Dean College. The Medical Center was also involved, along with other community organizations, in initiatives to improve access to healthcare for adolescents and the Ecuadorian population.
In the year 2009, we laid the groundwork for several new initiatives that expanded the Medical Center’s services in rehabilitation, women’s health and palliative care in the final quarter of the year.
To meet the needs of an active population in our 20+ town service area, Milford Regional broadened its outpatient rehabilitation services by moving the Milford site to a larger 7,000 square foot facility and expanding the Whitinsville site to 5,500 square feet. Physical therapy services were increased with the addition of breakthrough therapies provided by cutting edge technologies, such as the Trazer. This state-of-the-art exercise equipment combines interactive virtual reality and tracking technologies to motivate and measure basic movement skills such as balance and agility in individuals of almost any age and capability. Occupational therapy was also bolstered with the addition of the BTE Simulator II, which duplicates hundreds of real world job and daily living functions. And, speech therapy (which was exclusive to the Milford site) expanded to the Whitinsville location. The department’s name changed from Rehabilitation Services Network to Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine in order to reflect their significant expansion in the area of sports medicine.
Expansion in women’s health was also on the docket in 2009 with the addition of a breast center. Renée Quarterman, MD, a breast specialist/surgeon, was brought on to spearhead this ambitious undertaking that would create a multidisciplinary team of experts focused on providing comprehensive and expeditious breast care. Specialists include radiologists, pathologists, surgeons and physical therapists from Milford Regional as well as medical and radiation oncologists from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. The Breast Center is built on a model of care that includes continuing education, awareness of the best Practice standards, biweekly interdisciplinary breast conferences to bring the team together to discuss patient cases, internal quality and outcome studies, clinical trials and surveillance.
Another name change to a Milford Regional department in 2009 denotes the importance of its new service… hospice care. The former Visiting Nurse Association of the Greater Milford-Northbridge Area became VNA and Hospice of Greater Milford.
In response to the overwhelming need for home-based palliative care in our area, the VNA hired an experienced hospice manager to oversee the development and implementation of this much-needed service. It took the better part of the year to fulfill all state and federal requirements as well as build a top-rate team. In December, the hospice program received its Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health license and certification. Families in Milford Regional’s service area now have the added reassurance of knowing that the very highest quality and compassionate end-of-life care is close by and easily accessible.
2010 - 2011
2010 was a year when the measurement of quality healthcare took on added significance due to healthcare reform initiatives requiring new payment and delivery models which reward defined outcomes, measurable quality and lower costs. Milford Regional met this challenge by bolstering the measurement, analysis and enhancement of our programs and services through the re-organization of the performance improvement department. Due to the sustained efforts of Milford Regional's staff, physicians and management, the Medical Center was recognized both statewide and nationally for its clinical quality, efficiency and patient experience measures.
Our physician base also continued to demonstrate excellence in healthcare through numerous recognitions and awards from health insurance companies, state agencies, colleagues and residents within our service area. Responding to the ongoing needs of the community, specialists and primary care physicians were added to the medical staff as well.
Milford Regional’s successful collaboration with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in bringing world-class cancer care to the suburbs drew visitors from the finest cancer institutes in the United States and around the world. The Cancer Center’s success was further showcased on WGBH-TV public broadcasting. Patients also benefited from the addition of Dana-Farber oncology specialists who see patients monthly at the Milford site. In addition, excellence in breast care was acknowledged when The Breast Center at Milford Regional became the third breast center in Massachusetts to receive national accreditation.
Investments in quality care included a continued expansion of our ongoing efforts to implement a fully electronic medical record with the final phase… computerized provider order entry. This $3 million project allows physicians to enter patient orders directly into the computer system. Patient safety and infection prevention were also top of mind with the half million dollar purchase of surgical instrument sterilizers. Plus, a new $300,000 cardiac ultrasound unit was added providing the very latest imaging technology to ensure the most accurate and comprehensive cardiac diagnostics available. In addition, two new laboratory sites now bring the total number of off-site locations to eight.
2011 was a year of extraordinary achievement at Milford Regional. The Medical Center received local, regional and national accolades including recognition as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & World Report.
Cutting edge treatments and expert care were at the forefront of this year’s accomplishments at Milford Regional. The cardiovascular department was the second statewide to implant a revolutionary new pacemaker approved for MRI use. The catheterization lab also began to offer transradial artery caths that go through the wrist rather than the groin, providing much greater comfort and quicker recovery for patients. In cancer care, a minimally invasive, highly effective prostate cancer treatment called brachytherapy that involves targeted radioactive seeds was introduced. In addition, The Breast Center expanded to include a nurse navigator—a critical new role that serves as a liaison between the patient and all of The Breast Center services.
Patient comfort and family support was the focus of several new programs in 2011. Food service was enhanced with a new dining program that allows patients to order food whenever they so choose between 7 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Milford Regional was also the first hospital in Massachusetts to adopt a program called Compassionate Companions that brings trained volunteers to the bedside of a dying patient when loved ones or family members are unable to be present.
Multiple awards recognizing exceptional quality of care were granted to Milford Regional programs, physicians and departments throughout the year. Milford Regional was awarded the Gold Stroke Award by the American Heart/Stroke Association for the third consecutive year because of the Medical Center’s continued success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care. The maternity department was also recognized internationally for its lactation services. Milford Regional’s physician practice group, Tri-County Medical Associates, was further noted for their excellence in care by both Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross. They also received high ratings in quality, ranked above the benchmarks in various clinical measures and scored above the statewide mean in patient satisfaction from the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners Report. Several of Milford Regional’s physicians made U.S. News & World Report’s Top Doctor’s list, and many others were honored and recognized for excellence in care by notable organizations.
Milford Regional’s dedication to the health and well-being of the surrounding communities could be seen outside its walls with the Medical Center’s involvement in two different outreach initiatives. Milford Regional was the first hospital in Massachusetts to adopt a transitional internship program called Project Search for students ages 18 – 22 with disabilities that provides training and education to acquire the job and life skills necessary for employment. The Medical Center was also awarded a Health Care and Health Promotion Synergy Initiative planning grant by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts to support planning efforts to increase access for the uninsured or underinsured to basic medical care.
Looking forward, Milford Regional plans to continue seeking out new, leading-edge technologies and services to provide patients with the most up-to-date treatments available. Several initiatives being considered or planned for in 2012 include palliative care, robotic surgery, 3-D mammography and bariatric surgery.
2012 - 2013
2012 was a year of accomplishment on all sides for Milford Regional. Along with being named for the second consecutive year as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, this prestigious publication also placed thirteen of our physicians on their Top Doctors’ list! To top it all off, Milford Regional finished the year with its best financial performance ever… a real feat in a complicated and challenging healthcare industry.
Much of Milford Regional’s continued success comes from the forward thinking and vision of the Medical Center’s physicians, staff and management. In order to meet the needs of patients whose severe weight puts their health at risk, they developed The Center for Weight Loss Surgery in partnership with UMass Memorial Medical Center in 2012. The program has been very well received by the community with surgeries scheduled this spring. The diagnostic imaging department also upgraded their nuclear medicine equipment to stay on the leading edge of technology with the installation of two SPECT/CT gamma cameras. These cameras provide the convenience of two tests in one detailing both the functional and structural changes at the metabolic level within specific areas of the body. In addition, the Medical Center’s laboratory invested more than one million dollars in award-winning lab automation that ensures accuracy and improves turnaround on test results. Milford Regional also developed a lung cancer screening program for smokers and ex-smokers as a proactive measure to monitor the health of their lungs. Studies indicate that catching lung cancer early through a chest CT scan increases their survival rate by 20%.
Recognized for connecting with the needs of patients on a deeper level, Milford Regional implemented Palliative Care Services, which offers advanced pain and symptom management to patients with chronic, progressive illness, regardless of prognosis. The program addresses the often multiple, complex medical issues of patients through a team approach that helps clarify treatment options and goals of care. At the other end of the spectrum, the maternity department introduced the latest innovation in childbirth known as Skin to Skin. This nationally recognized program enhances the newborn’s health by a skin to skin connection with mom immediately upon birth and encourages this type of interaction with dad as well.
Milford Regional’s pursuit of excellence in 2012 was recognized on several fronts. The Medical Center ranked third out of 51 Massachusetts hospitals and was one of only two central Massachusetts’ hospitals that made the top ten in a safety ranking issued by Consumer Reports. Milford Regional was also honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national non-profit run by employers and other large purchases of health benefits. Several departments were also recognized for excellence and achievement in stroke, breast, and breastfeeding care. The hospital was also selected for the fourth year in a row as the region’s favorite hospital through Community Newspaper Company’s 2012 Readers Choice Awards.
Looking forward, Milford Regional has begun to prepare the way with detailed planning in 2012 of an exciting new building project which will expand the emergency and ICU departments as well as add patient rooms. Groundbreaking is projected to take place in 2014.
Milford Regional Medical Center brought convenience and expanded services to the patients they serve in 2013 through partnerships with other prestigious healthcare systems in Worcester and Boston.
- Over 100 patients are at various stages of the bariatric surgery program, started in 2012 with UMass Memorial Medical Center.
- Pediatric care was also enhanced through a new partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital. Children admitted to Milford Regional, as well as newborns in the Maternity Center, now benefit from around-the-clock care provided by Boston Children pediatric hospitalists, and Boston Children’s Hospital specialists began offering clinics at the hospital in gastroenterology and general surgery.
- Milford Regional marked a milestone in its partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital as Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional celebrated its five-year anniversary. Among many new services offered, access to genetic counseling on the Milford campus was highlighted in 2013.
- Milford Regional and Riverside Community Care elevated their 17-year collaboration by creating a formal division of behavioral medicine inside Milford Regional’s internal medicine department.
Surgery also took a huge leap forward at Milford Regional in 2013 with the introduction of robotic surgery. This leading-edge technology, which is designed to expand the surgeon’s capabilities and offers a minimally invasive option for major surgery, benefitted 74 patients in the areas of gynecology and urology in 2013. Milford Regional then went one step further and took the lead in being the first hospital in Central Massachusetts to offer Single-Site da Vinci® robotic-assisted gallbladder surgery.
Expansion at Milford Regional included buildings as well as services in 2013. Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine, which began its major expansion with a new outpatient facility in Milford in 2009, responded to growing patient demand in the Franklin area with the construction of a new 10,000 square foot facility on Forge Parkway in Franklin. Plus, Milford Regional’s ambitious 116,000 square foot building expansion plans announced last year that will include a new emergency department, intensive care unit and private patient rooms also continued to move forward in 2013. The $54 million building project is slated for a groundbreaking in 2014 and completion in 2015.
Driving our expansion and new services in 2013 was an exceptional team of physicians and medical professionals that were recognized for clinical excellence by several highly regarded publications and groups. For the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named Milford Regional a Best Regional Hospital. Consumer Reports also recognized Milford Regional for surgical safety, ranking the Medical Center second out of 51 Massachusetts hospitals. In addition, The Leapfrog Group recognized Milford Regional for achieving high levels of safety as well.
2014 - 2015
The essence of Milford Regional Medical Center in 2014 could be defined in one word… Community. Everything achieved by Milford Regional was done to better serve the community, and the community responded with incredible support.
Growth and expansion seemed to be pervasive throughout our corporation in 2014 beginning with the construction of two impressive building projects. On hospital grounds, Milford Regional celebrated a groundbreaking and the first stages of a new 78,000 square foot building that will include a new ED, ICU and private patient rooms. The $54 million building will open in the fall of 2015. In Northbridge, a brand new 24,000 square foot facility called Milford Regional in the Blackstone Valley opened in October, 2014. Milford Regional and its physician practice group, Tri-County Medical Associates, share space inside this spacious building which houses family medicine and OB/GYN along with Milford Regional rehabilitation, laboratory and radiology services.
Another area of expansion at Milford Regional in 2014 was the introduction of new, leading edge technologies, including 3D mammography and the smallest, insertable cardiac monitor available. In fact, Milford Regional was the first hospital in Massachusetts to implant this cardiac monitor which can wirelessly monitor a patient's heart for up to three years! Plus, the Medical Center's focus on patient safety was elevated with the purchase of two Xenex disinfection robots that use ultraviolet light (UV-C) to kills deadly pathogens and multi-drug resistant organisms in patient rooms.
Our physician base also grew as Milford Regional welcomed 25 new physicians to our active medical staff. Pediatrics expanded through our partnership with Boston Children's Physicians that not only provides around-the-clock inpatient care and ED coverage, but also offers specialty clinics including general surgery, gastroenterology, urology and endocrinology. Our new physicians broadened the scope of care provided at Milford Regional with such adult specialties as reproductive endocrinology and infertility, breast and thoracic surgeries.
The year of community could most certainly be seen in the 457 hospital volunteers, Milford Regional's stalwart Auxiliary, and the many dedicated business leaders and community members that share their time and talents on various hospital boards and fundraising events. It is because of their generosity, along with the Milford Regional family, that close to $23 million was raised to support the new ED building project.
All of these advancements at Milford Regional in 2014 and the high standard of patient care the hospital sets for itself resulted in local, regional and national recognitions. Milford Regional was chosen for the sixth straight year as the regional choice for healthcare and the number one choice locally by the annual Community Newspapers' survey. The hospital was also recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Regional Hospital for the fourth consecutive year. In addition, Milford Regional was honored as a Top Hospital by The Leapfrog Group. This award is widely cited as the nation's most competitive hospital quality award. Milford Regional was one of 94 hospitals out of 1,400 nationwide to earn this honor.
2015 was a year when a vision was realized. On October 1, Milford Regional invited the community to tour the Medical Center's greatest accomplishment to date-- a $54 million, 76,000 square foot building addition. This incredible achievement, called the Meehan Family Pavilion, houses a new emergency department, intensive care unit, private patient rooms and diagnostic imaging.
The new emergency department is double the size of the previous space and has 52 rooms versus 30. The area includes two triage rooms; 36 treatment rooms and 25 acute rooms, several of which have lifts for bariatric patients. There are also 10 behavioral health rooms and four specially equipped trauma/resuscitation rooms.
The waiting room now offers a separate children's waiting area stocked with educational toys, books, a dedicated video screen and pint-sized table and chairs. This area directly connects with five treatment rooms designed specifically for children.
The adjacent 2,400-square-foot diagnostic imaging area houses a new CT scanner, two radiology rooms and an ultrasound room.
On the second floor is a new 13,190-square-foot intensive care unit that increases the number of patient rooms from 10 to 16. These rooms are all equipped with patient lifts and private bathrooms, while one provides isolation capability and two are specially outfitted for bariatric patients. The new design has larger patient rooms with booms that accommodate the full array of state-of-the-art technologies eliminating the need to remove one piece of equipment.
The new ICU is heralded for its family friendly design. Each includes a "family zone," with a couch that converts to a bed, additional comfortable chairs and outlets to plug in a phone or computer. There is also storage for patient and guest belongings on shelves and in a closet. Two expanding family waiting rooms provide gathering space for additional family members with furniture suitable for sleeping.
There is also a wing on the upper level with 24 new private medical/surgical patient rooms. This area provides two bariatric rooms, two isolation rooms, and six progressive care rooms. All rooms have private bathrooms with shower as well as several comfortable chairs, including a sleep chair to accommodate visitors and loved ones.
On this floor, patients and their families also find a welcome respite in the Tranquility Garden. This uniquely designed open-rooftop patio and garden invites patients and loved ones to enjoy the flowers and greenery while sitting on benches or at one of several tables. Patients confined to beds can also enjoy the open-air space from the vestibule when a retractable glass window opens allowing the fresh air and garden view to come inside.
The community support for this impressive addition to the Medical Center was extraordinary with over $25 million being raised!
In addition to the completion of such a significant building project, Milford Regional also had a significant change at the top of the organization in 2015 with the retirement of long-time president and CEO Francis M. Saba. After 27 extraordinary years successfully leading the healthcare system to its present standing as one of the region's finest, Frank stepped down on December 14, 2015. Edward J. Kelly, assumed the role as president and CEO of Milford Regional following his departure. Having worked with Frank at Milford Regional for over 20 years as chief financial officer; executive vice president and, more recently, as president, the transition of power was seamless.
2016 was most certainly a year of transition. It was ushered in with the opening of our new, impressive 78,000 square foot addition that alleviated congestion in the emergency department, upgraded the technologies and space in our intensive care unit and provided greater privacy for patients with new private patient rooms. This much-needed expansion to our campus was welcomed by our physicians, nurses, staff, and most importantly, our patients and community.
However, with a building project of this size and magnitude, growing pains can be expected. Anticipated growth through expansion takes time and even the best projections are not always met. In addition, reimbursement levels and expenses can also impact the bottom line. While our volume did increase in FY 2016, it was not enough to offset our expenses. At year’s end, our healthcare system faced a sizable loss.
Tackling the FY 2016 deficit and creating a balanced budget for FY 2017 was a challenge; but it was a challenge well met by the Milford Regional team — our employees, physicians, trustees and volunteers. It took everyone pulling together to get us facing the right direction.
During this time of uncertainty, what stood out about the dedicated team of people who make up Milford Regional Healthcare System was their continued focus on the health and well-being of our patients. The bar was set higher in FY 2016 through such patient-centered programs as Elder Wellness, which is designed to prevent a decline in mental and physical abilities often seen in older adults when their daily routines are disrupted during hospitalization. Trained volunteers visit elderly patients a few times a day to make sure they are mentally and physically active during their hospital stay by providing companionship, playing games, assisting at mealtimes, leading range-of-motion exercises and other therapeutic activities.
Caring for the youngest among us also took centerstage as Milford Regional earned the designation of 2016 Center of Excellence in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Care. In response to the increased opioid use in pregnant women resulting in a rise in the number of newborns developing severe signs of opioid withdrawal, Milford Regional became one of 110 medical centers around the country to enroll in a national quality improvement collaborative dedicated to improving the quality, safety and value of care for substance-exposed infants and their families. As a result, the Milford Regional team implemented Baby Steps, a new program to help prepare families to care for their newborn that has been exposed to medications, drugs or alcohol.
Another program introduced in FY 2016 that provides support for moms with their newborns was The Snuggle Squad, a group of highly trained volunteers who comfort and soothe newborns in Milford Regional’s Maternity Center. Their role is particularly important in assisting babies with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and new mothers recovering from a difficult birth.
In addition, Milford Regional continued to lead with the most up-to-date diagnostic technologies around in 2016 by installing the region’s very first 3T MRI, as well as upgrades in digital radiology, low dose CT scanners and interventional radiology equipment.
Our growing communities also benefitted from Milford Regional’s growing list of high quality primary physicians and specialists. Seven physicians were recognized nationally by Castle Connelly’s annual 2016 Top Doctor’s list. Plus, Tri-County Medical Associates (the physician practice group of Milford Regional Healthcare System) took home recognitions for excellence in care by Harvard Pilgrim and the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners. In addition, four practices received Patient-Centered Medical Home certification which centers around the primary care physician’s team caring for patients in a “whole person approach,” proactively managing their care and reminding them about important health screenings.