Wellness Programs, Licensure Training, and more...

Hospitals Provide Wellness Programs to Their Workers

Recently the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) announced the winners of its annual WorkWell Massachusetts Awards program that recognizes Massachusetts employers who put in the extra effort to promote a healthy workforce.

The gold level winners (followed by successful elements of their programs) are:

Berkshire Health Systems: Incorporated mindful-based tools throughout the hospital system in response to recent studies that show increased burnout in healthcare. Members of a Wellness Team were trained in mindfulness tools, engaged in 10-week training programs, and began leading individual and group sessions to reduce stress and promote improved mental health.  The system reported a 73% participation rate in its wide-ranging wellness programs.

Cambridge Health Alliance: The CHA wellness program addresses four core pillars of well-being: self-care, rest and recovery, movement, and nutrition. Some of the program’s offerings include individual and team-based challenges, educational workshops, onsite exercise classes, and healthy food and beverage selections.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: The hospital integrated well-being and benefits under one umbrella to emphasize the importance of overall wellness in the workplace. It focuses on the whole individual, offering a menu of options in four categories – health, financial, community, and whole well-being.

Lowell General Hospital: Its four pillars of wellness are mental well-being, nutrition, movement with a mission, and financial wellness. The hospital challenged the traditional ways of thinking and encouraged employees to look at their whole self instead of just one part of it.

Signature Healthcare: “As a healing institution, we care for the wellbeing of our employees in the same way we care for the wellbeing of our patients,” Signature wrote. “We know our employees are our greatest asset and we are making an investment in their health and wellbeing. Wellness Together is designed to guide our employees on this journey.” 52% of employees are participating, and there has been a 6% reduction in health risk factors.

The only non-hospital gold medal winner was Suffolk Construction, which has a LIVESMART culture. Suffolk says, “Isn’t just about building buildings any more. It’s about building people.”

Boston Medical Center won the WWCMA innovator award for its Employee Assistance Social Worker. That worker provides direct care, training programs, and navigation services to all employees. For navigation, she helps employees find the most appropriate level and location of care for mental health and substance use disorders. Additionally, she helps employees in crisis find affordable housing, provides bereavement counseling, teaches resiliency skills, and more.

MHA has created the Caring for the Caregiver initiative to assist its members create their own programs to advance Employee Recognition & Gratitude, Workplace Safety, and Employee Wellbeing. Throughout the Massachusetts hospital community, efforts are underway – in various stages – to advance these three core pillars of Caring for the Caregiver. MHA is assisting its members by providing resources, step-by-step guides, and best-practice examples now underway.

Required Training for Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing has issued a notice on required training for healthcare providers on the issue of domestic and sexual violence as a condition of licensure.

DPH’s Division of Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention and Services has developed a training that meets the requirements for licensure. You can access the e-learning tool from this DPH Domestic and Sexual Violence Integration Initiatives web page.

Nurses who renew after October 30, 2018, will have an additional six months from the date of license renewal to complete the training. Nurses who have renewed prior to the release of the training must complete the training prior to their next license renewal.

A nurse participating in a currently approved in-person training program will be considered to have met the requirement and does not need to take the online course by DPH. Refer to DPH’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Integration Initiatives for training approval updates.

Additional Primary Practices in Central/Western Mass. Join ACOs

The sweeping MassHealth Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program just got a little larger; Mass Health announced last week that effective January 1, 2019, 20 primary care practices will join three ACOs in Central and Western Massachusetts.

Primary care physicians in 20 practices currently care for approximately 26,000 MassHealth members.  These enrollees have the option to change their managed care plan within 90 days. The three ACOs are: Boston Children’s ACO with Tufts Health Plan (with seven new practices); BMC HealthNet Plan Community Alliance – Boston Accountable Care Organization (eight practices); and Community Care Cooperative (five practices).

The five-year MassHealth ACO demonstration project began on March 1, 2018, and is serving more than 800,000 people. Seventeen ACOs are participating in three types of ACO models: Accountable Care Partnership Plans (13), Primary Care ACOs (3), and MCO Administered ACOs (1).  The individuals being served are those who are younger than age 65, have MassHealth as their primary coverage, and are not on Medicare or covered by other insurance.

The Current Crop of Next-Generation Healthcare Leaders

Congratulations to the 2018 graduates of the Massachusetts Health Leadership College, which combines intensive and comprehensive leadership assessment, coaching, interactive lectures, and action-learning assignments to provide executives new insights about themselves, their leadership, decision-making styles, and their effect on others. The schooling is dedicated to the development of “next-generation CEOs and key leaders.” Shown in the photo below are this year’s graduates: (Standing left to right) eated left to right) Richard A. Sugarman, Associate General Counsel, Boston Medical Center;  Catherine Pietrzak, V.P., Ambulatory and Children's Behavioral Health Initiative, Lahey Health Behavioral Services; Aimee Carew Lyons, R.N., COO & CNO, Franciscan Children's; Emily Dulong, Director, Strategy/Government Advocacy, MHA; Andrew J. Patterson, Executive Director, Heywood Medical Group, Heywood Healthcare; Robin Hynds, R.N., Executive Director, Merrimack Health Network; Bill Morley, Center for Creative Leadership Faculty; Camille Preston, Center for Creative Leadership Faculty; Jeanne Shirshac, V.P., Health Policy & Public Programs, UMass Memorial Health Care; Patricia J. Crowley, V.P., Governance & Member Relations, MHA; Pieter Pil, M.D., Medical Director, Martha's Vineyard Hospital; Lori Pelletier, V.P., Operational Excellence, UMass Memorial Health Care; Tejas R. Gandhi, COO, Baystate Medical Center; and Raymond McCarthy, CFO, Baycare Health Partners. (Seated left to right) Adrianne Seiler, M.D., Medical Director, Baycare Health Partners; Stacie Swanson, Executive Director, Physician Services, Lowell General Hospital; Kelly J. Dougherty, V.P., Cardiovascular Center, Tufts Medical Center; and Cathy Reed, Administrative Director, Clinical Services, Cooley Dickinson Health Care Massachusetts General Hospital Affiliate.

Another Flu Reminder

The federal CDC estimates during last year’s (2017-2018) flu season, 49 million people got the flu, requiring 960,000 hospitalizations, and resulting in 79,000 deaths. This burden was higher than any season since the 2009 pandemic and serves as a reminder of how severe seasonal influenza can be.  Luckily, the flu hasn’t really broken out in Massachusetts yet but the rates are still above last year’s record levels. So get vaccinated!

John LoDico, Editor