November 13, 2009

Congressman Richard Neal Tours Harrington Hospital

Rep. who helped bring digital mammography lauds hospital's role in community

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 12, 2009 - Congressman Richard E. Neal, who helped Harrington Hospital secure funding for a state-of-the-art digital mammography machine, toured the hospital yesterday and lauded Harrington's modern technology as well as its focusing on providing personal care to the community it serves.

"The role that Harrington plays in the community as a growing regional community hospital - it's an anchor in the community," Neal said as he visited Harrington's new Women's Health Center, which houses the Hologic digital mammography machine. "This is a hospital that has an interesting approach to healthcare - it's all-encompassing. Yes, the technology it has is very important in giving care to the community. But at the same time, your attention to the personal side of care is so evident.

"People have to be comfortable in a setting where they go to get care," Neal said. "You walk into this hospital and you notice, right away, how very welcoming everyone is, how very caring. That's essential."

Neal toured the main hospital campus at 100 South Street, including the Women's Center, the hospital's state-of-the-art renovated rooms, the Emergency Care Center and The Cancer Center at Harrington. The Cancer Center, just across the parking lot from the hospital, at 55 Sayles Street, is scheduled to open later this month, offering advanced cancer treatment and complementary therapies.

On the tour with Neal was Harrington President and CEO Edward Moore as well as several members of the hospital's Senior Leadership Team: Thomas Sullivan, Chief Financial Officer; Dr. Arthur Russo, Chief Medical Officer; and Douglas Crapser, Chief Operating Officer.

"Digital mammography is the gold standard when it comes to mammography," said CEO Moore. "Through the help of Congressman Neal, we have been able to provide our patients with state-of-the-art technology."

Neal, a Springfield Democrat, is Chair of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, which has oversight on healthcare and Social Security funding. The $285,000 in funding for the digital mammography machine came as part of an omnibus spending bill signed by President Barack Obama in March. Neal worked with the Bay State's two senators, John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, on the bill, which included a total of $125.7 million in investments for Massachusetts' priorities.

In addition to Harrington's role in the community, Neal and the Harrington team also discussed healthcare reform and the services The Cancer Center at Harrington will provide. The Cancer Center is part of a two-story, comprehensive cancer treatment center called The Central Massachusetts Cancer Center. The first floor, which provides the latest in radiation therapies, is staffed and operated by Radiation Therapy, a joint venture partner with Harrington.

"What we have here, we believe, is as good a cancer center as you'll find anywhere around," said Russo, Harrington's Chief Medical Officer.

Radiation Therapy Services began seeing patients at the facility in late June. The Cancer Center at Harrington, slated to open in a few weeks, as well as Radiation Therapy Services, will hold an Open House for the community on Wednesday, Dec. 9, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Cancer Center at Harrington will offer infusion/chemotherapy services as well as counseling services, including an on-site social worker, to help patients and their families with the psycho-social issues related to cancer. The Cancer Center at Harrington also features a Resource Room, with computer access, to allow patients and their families to research cancer and cancer treatments. The room will be staffed by volunteers from the American Cancer Society and the hospital Auxiliary.