Medical Center Earns Afib Gold Award!

Our Medical Center is one of only two hospitals in the state of Massachusetts to earn the American Heart Association Get with the Guidelines-Afib Gold Quality Achievement Award for the second consecutive year. “Meeting and exceeding national benchmarks shows patients, families, referring providers and payors that those with arrhythmia who are hospitalized at our Medical Center receive best-practice care,” says David McManus, MD, ScM, director of the anticoagulation clinic and co-director of Atrial Fibrillation Program. Hospitals achieving gold-level recognition have reached an aggressive goal of treating patients with 85 percent or higher compliance to core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for two consecutive calendar years.

Ready, Set, Go! The Cancer Walk and Run Is This Sunday!

The UMass Cancer Walk and Run is this Sunday, September 30 on the University Campus! There is something for everyone at this very special event, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year. Feeling swift of foot? Join the run. Keeping up a walking tradition? There are both one-mile and five-mile walks. Do you have a t-shirt from the very first walk? Wear it proudly on Sunday morning. See a full list of event details and times. Register online now or in person on Sunday morning. Benefits-eligible employees: Remember that you can earn 100 points for your participation by completing the “Community Fitness Event” challenge on the myHealth Matters portal!

Good Fit Program Aim: Reduce Health Problems Associated With Obesity

Dr. Bram

Dr. Aidlen

Jennifer Bram, MD, and Jeremy Aidlen, MD, co-directors of the Children’s Medical Center Good Fit Teen Weight and Wellness Clinic, recently sat down with Michael Hirsh, MD, host of the Worcester District Medical Society’s Health Matters program, to discuss childhood obesity and the health problems that can result from being overweight. With about 30 percent of children in Massachusetts being flagged as obese or overweight, and data trending upward toward that number reaching 48 percent by the year 2020, Drs. Bram and Aidlen stress the need to take immediate control of this growing epidemic. Watch the interview, which aired on Health Matters on WCCA-TV, Charter/Spectrum Channel 194. Learn more about the Good Fit Clinic.

Calling All Kids! Come to the Teddy Bear Clinic This Saturday!

Parents, don’t forget to pack up your children and their teddy bears and join us for a fun-filled day this Saturday, September 29 at the Children’s Medical Center Teddy Bear Clinic! This interactive health and safety fair will take place from 10 am to 3 pm in the Albert Sherman Center at the Medical School. Parking and admission are completely free! Children will have the opportunity to tour a fire truck and a police cruiser, have their faces painted, enter a raffle for a free bicycle and so much more – all while learning about their bodies, what to expect at a hospital visit, and tips for staying safe at home. Don’t miss the fun!

Gracias, Merci, Obrigatos! Thank You to Interpreter Services

Members of our Interpreter Services staff

As the world celebrates International Interpreters Day this Sunday, September 30, we recognize every member of our Interpreter Services team for the important work they do to ensure effective communication between caregivers and our linguistically diverse and deaf and hard-of-hearing patient populations. By the end of this calendar year, more than 200,000 interpretation encounters will be provided in the more than 100 languages spoken by our rapidly growing patient population. Our interpreters’ qualifications far exceed regulatory requirements. They attend continuing education seminars each fiscal year and possess an in-depth understanding of cultural differences that impact effective patient-provider communication. In addition, the majority of our interpreters have earned certification as medical interpreters through the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. Learn more about Interpreter Services.

New Telemedicine Platform Enhances Stroke Care

Wiley Hall, MD, TeleStroke program director

When someone suffers a stroke, “time is brain.” This often-cited phrase means the faster a patient is evaluated as a candidate for the clot-busting drug tPA, the better his or her chance of recovery. That is why our TeleStroke Program is so vitally important to community hospitals with limited neurology services. Since our program launched in 2009, we have delivered more than 9,000 teleneurology consults over interactive video, ensuring that patients across Central Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut receive the timely care they need. Given the importance of this service, we recently invested in a new telemedicine platform called Avizia ONE by American Well. This new platform improves access and reliability through a streamlined workflow and browser-based video consultations. “The time from activation to me being with the patient has decreased to just minutes,” said Brian Silver, MD, neurology and vascular neurology. “And when time is brain, minutes matter!

Take on myHealth Matters Fall Challenges

You and your fellow caregivers reached new heights this summer! Now it’s time to show fall what you’ve got! New challenges have just arrived on the myHealth Matters portal. Benefits-eligible employees: Relieve back stiffness and pain in the “Stretch Your Back” challenge, and get a better night’s rest when you complete the “Avoid Stimulants Before Sleep” challenge. In the “Give Cheers for a Job Well Done” challenge, share your positive feedback with a co-worker to show you appreciate his or her hard work. These challenges and more are available when you visit the myHealth Matters portal.

Call for Proposals to Improve the Lives of Those With Diabetes

The Berkman Fund Governance Committee, in conjunction with our Diabetes Center of Excellence, is soliciting proposals for funding of clinical projects intended to improve the lives of people with diabetes. Proposals requesting between $50,000 and $150,000 will be considered. Applicants are requested to submit an abstract of the proposed project before 5 pm , Wednesday, October 31. Faculty and staff of our health care system and the Medical School are invited to apply. Return the abstract application with a copy of your curriculum vitae to Lisa Hubacz, administrator, Diabetes Center of Excellence. Email Michael Thompson, MD, clinical research chief, Diabetes Center of Excellence or Lisa Hubacz with questions.

Put Your Vision Into Focus: Schedule Your Annual Exam

Eye exams play an important role in your overall wellness. In addition to testing your vision, regular eye exams can help identify early signs of certain chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. When you get your eyes checked every year, you’re helping your eyes – and possibly your whole body – stay well. If you’re enrolled in a Blue Cross Blue Shield or Health Plans Inc. medical plan, you’re covered for an annual eye exam when you use in-network providers. Participating in EyeMed? You also have coverage for glasses or contact lenses, as well as your annual eye exam. Refer to your Benefits Guide or visit or MyBenefits for coverage details. Questions? Email or call the Benefits Contact Center at 508-334-8511.

Opioid Task Force Launched; Dr. Babu Is Chief Opioid Officer

Dr. Babu has been appointed chief opioid officer for UMass Memorial Health Care. (photo courtesy of the Telegram & Gazette)

President and CEO Eric Dickson, MD, along with physicians, nurses and thought leaders from across UMass Memorial Health Care, has launched an Opioid Crisis Task Force with a primary mission of decreasing opioid-associated morbidity and mortality in Central Massachusetts communities. Announced at launch was the appointment of Kavita Babu, MD, as the system’s first chief opioid officer. The task force plans to catalog and share preventative efforts; identify and treat opioid use disorders through clinical and research endeavors; and establish priorities for initiatives that emphasize evidence-based care for patients with opioid use disorders. It will collect data on markers of opioid use within the organization’s patient population to help guide its strategy, and would like to create a culture that removes the stigma associated with opioid addiction. In less than 20 years, there have been more than 700,000 overdose deaths in the United States, including more than 72,000 overdose deaths in 2017. While deaths have begun to decrease in Massachusetts, here in Worcester County, we have seen an increase. Learn more about the task force in the Telegram & Gazette article.