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A report in May brought troubling news for Worcester: In 2018, 97 city residents died from opioid overdoses, the highest number ever recorded, up from a previous high of 82 in 2015. Worcester County also hit a new high of 283 deaths from overdoses of the drugs.
In contrast, the report – produced by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services – found the statewide numbers declined slightly for the second year in a row, from a high of 2,100 in 2016 to 2,033.
The Heart of New England Council of the Boy Scouts of America has selected Deborah Weymouth, president and CEO of UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, to receive its Distinguished Citizen Award for 2019.
A "light years" leap in improvement was how one official described the new Emergency Department at UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital.
Phase one of the project was unveiled at an open house ceremony recently.
"This is a huge step forward for our community," said CEO and President Deborah Weymouth of the hospital, which will increase the number of patient beds from 24 to 37. She said the upgrade will address two of the most pressing concerns patients have when visiting the emergency room -- wait times and lack of privacy.
Everyone wants better medical care for patients in Massachusetts, but there is no evidence to suggest that passage of Question 1 on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot would achieve anything close to that goal.
After months of research, this newspaper's editorial board has concluded that Question 1, if approved at the ballot box, would have a very harmful effect on the quality of patient care and lead to devastating program cutbacks at every hospital and nursing home -- both large and small -- forced to meet an unnecessary and wasteful government mandate.
LEOMINSTER -- The area's largest health care provider has come out against the upcoming nursing ballot initiative, saying that it would have catastrophic financial implications that could reverberate throughout local communities.
UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital opposes ballot Question 1, which would set limits on the number of patients assigned to hospital nurses. The initiative would mandate patient to nurse ratios and would require hospitals to pay a $25,000 fine to the government for every additional patient assigned to a nurse.
FITCHBURG -- As Applewild School continues to celebrate its 60th anniversary and its commitment to the community, it hosted Community Reading Day recently in the Marshall Lower School.
Among the guests who read to the students were: Mayor Stephen DiNatale; Donata Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster; Sheila Harrity, superintendent of Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School; Kelli Rooney, director of marketing for HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster; Police Chief Ernie Martineau; and Fire Chief Kevin Roy.
LEOMINSTER -- Nearly 60 different young children, new mothers, and Alzheimer's patients are about to get a new blanket courtesy of the students and faculty of Samoset Middle School.
The school turned itself into a small blanket factory Friday morning as Samoset's 492 students set to work assembling the 58 blankets that would be donated to local non-profits and human services agencies at the end of the day.
LEOMINSTER - It'll be less of a headache for some local students trying to get their homework done thanks to a recent donation of 10 computers from HealthAlliance Hospital to the Boys & Girls Club. The computers, which have been operational since last week, were given to the club after many of the club's older machines started breaking down in rapid succession.
The club's teen center, where high school students usually do homework after school, went from five computers to just one in less than a year.
Established last summer, the Leominster Opioid Task Force has held several events and hosts monthly community meetings, with a goal of educating Leominster residents about drug addiction and breaking misconceptions about addiction.
For Jaci Cavaioli and Tara Rivera, the Leominster Opioid Task Force they co-founded is about education — showing the effects of drug addiction, breaking misconceptions about it, and explaining how addiction can affect anyone.
FITCHBURG — The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts made $776,404 in charitable distributions from discretionary, advised and scholarship funds for its most recently completed quarter.
The Community Foundation, which has more than 200 charitable funds that have been established by donors, said 43 of its funds made distributions and grants to programs in the area of education, health, environmental causes, and arts and culture programs.
LEOMINSTER -- The road to recovery is one that's neither short nor easy, but Leominster Opioid Task Force co-founder Tara Rivera is living proof that it's a road worth taking.
Having been in long-term recovery for the last 21 years, she first experienced the ordeals many people are currently suffering through before the term "opioid epidemic" had entered the public consciousness.
Rollstone Bank & Trust recently pledged $50,000 to UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital’s Community Campaign. Proceeds will support behavioral health services in the hospital’s emergency department.
Workers Credit Union has donated $100,000 to expansion of the emergency department at the Leominster campus of UMass Memorial HealthAlliance - Clinton Hospital.
The expansion will boost the number of emergency treatment rooms to 37 from 24 and include new triage areas, more privacy for patients and secure space for patients with behavioral health issues.
Workers Credit Union is based in Fitchburg with branches in Acton, Chelmsford, Gardner, Groton, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Orange, Townsend, Westford and Athol.
Workers Credit Union has made a $100,000 donation for the UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital Emergency Room expansion initiative on the Leominster Campus.
"We can't thank Workers Credit Union enough for this very generous donation. It is heartening that the credit union recognized our goal to provide a state-of-the-art environment for our caregivers to deliver compassionate, quality care to every patient," Deborah Weymouth, president, and CEO of UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital.
Beginning Oct. 1, there will be a new name on the hospital, but the new CEO acknowledges it will always be Clinton Hospital to the residents of this area.
And that is OK with her.
Deborah Weymouth, the president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Alliance-Clinton Hospital, who oversees Health Alliance campuses in Leominster and Fitchburg, said her goal is to keep the hospital functioning and “keep it as ‘Clinton Hospital’ as people have known it.”
Sandra Fischer was only six years old when she realized she wanted to comfort the dying.
Her grandmother had just survived a stroke, but was paralyzed to the point that she could only move her eyes. Despite her young age, Fischer helped to take care of her grandmother. She now refers to this as the beginning of her training.
"I've learned so much. To be a better person, to look at people in a different light, and that someday we will all end up in a position like that," she said.
UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital recently held a Groundbreaking Ceremony on May 18, 2017, for a new Emergency Department on their Leominster, Massachusetts campus.
As hospital staff and local officials gathered Thursday to celebrate the expansion of HealthAlliance Hospital's Emergency Department, there was one phrase most frequently repeated during the speeches: It's about time.
"Since the day I first landed here, I've been waiting for this day," said hospital President and CEO Deborah Weymouth.
Each spring a number of the region's most outstanding high-school seniors are recognized with scholarships from the Chamber Foundation of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.
On Friday, chamber members and guests have an opportunity to meet the scholarship winners, when a total of $48,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the "Good Morning" breakfast event.
These awards are either endowed or funded by companies and individuals, and a total of 24 scholarships for $2,000 are being presented this year.