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Community Benefits & Health Assessment

Each year, Harrington HealthCare works in conjunction with its Community Health Network, the Massachusetts Hospital Association and the office of the Attorney General (AG) to produce a Community Benefits Report, which highlights the previous fiscal year’s services, outreach and education to our most deserving populations. Our programs are a collaboration of medical services within Harrington, as well as outside organizations and businesses that share the desire to help educate the public, prevent chronic diseases and reduce health disparities.

Community Benefits and State-Wide Health Initiatives

The Community Benefits guidelines highlight certain health care priorities which are based on statewide needs identified by the Attorney General’s Office in 2009:

  1. Supporting Health Care Reform
  2. Chronic Disease Management in Disadvantaged Population
  3. Reducing Health Disparities
  4. Promoting Wellness of Vulnerable Populations
  5. Address Unmet Health Needs of the Uninsured

Community Benefits Mission Statement

The mission of Harrington HealthCare is to build healthier communities by providing education and outreach for identified health deficits through collaborative initiatives and programs.

Health Needs Assessment (HNA)

Harrington has completed a new Health Needs Assessment as of December 31, 2016.

We partnered with DataStar to administer and tabulate a qualitative-driven survey, targeting 500 completed surveys utilizing a combination of email and social media.

Secondary data collection has also been conducted by internal members of Harrington’s team and utilized alongside the primary survey findings.

For the 2016 HNA Report, click here.
For the complete 2016 Health Needs Assessment survey, click here.

HNA Findings

The data collected from the Health Needs Assessment spread over a variety of categories, including general health, pediatric health, adolescent health, women’s health and senior health.

We collected 591 responses via email. 94% of our responses from our email database reach, 4% from our internal audience electronic letter and 4% from our targeted Facebook campaign.


For overall community health concerns, 68% of participants cited obesity, followed by cancer (61%), opioid/heroin addiction (58%), mental health disorders/depression (57%) and diabetes (54%).

The top five survey answers in additional categories were as follows:

Pediatric Health:

  • Specialists
  • Behavioral Health
  • General Surgery
  • Lyme Disease
  • Pediatrician Volume

Adolescent Health:

  • Opioids
  • Depression/Behavioral Health
  • Teen Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • ADHD/Related Conditions

Women’s’ Health:

  • (lack of) After-Hours Support
  • High-Risk Pregnancy/Services
  • (lack of) Doula/Midwifery
  • Availability of dedicated OB services
  • Availability of Parenting Support Classes

Senior Health:

  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Depression

We also asked participants; overall, what changes they thought would make the most impact in improving the health of the community. The top five suggestions were:

Creating more recreational facilities
Availability of healthier food
Better access to primary care physicians
More job opportunities
Better access to mental health services


Data was also gathered from local and national resources like the American Cancer Registry and US Census, as well as Harrington patient reports, i.e. medical diagnosis codes at Emergency Room visits.

The top five diagnoses in our Emergency Departments for Fiscal Year 2016 included abdominal or pelvic pain, back pain (dorsalgia), chest/thoracic pain, dislocation of joint or sprain and nausea/vomiting. The top ten diagnoses seen in the Emergency Departments comprise just fewer than 30% of the total patient Emergency Department encounters for FY2016.

Our Cancer Center data includes all patients who had at least one course of treatment at our Southbridge location from 2014-2016 (to date of collection: November, 2016).

In comparing cancer diagnoses by gender, for 2015, the top five cancers included breast (60 cases), lung (48 cases), prostate (22 cases), blood and bone marrow (17 cases) and colon (15 cases).

The US Census revealed the top 2 causes of death for the 150,000 patients served were heart disease and cancer.

CB Initiative: Utilization of Community Resource Guide

A committee consisting of Harrington representatives and employees of the Town of Southbridge met the beginning of 2017 to discuss the results of the Health Needs Assessment. The primary takeaway was that before other programs are put into place, there is a general disconnect between the resources available to our community and the knowledge about how to obtain them.

To that end, Harrington has enlisted a student intern to work 90 hours in the spring and early summer of 2017. Her priorities included:

a) Researching, finalizing, and organizing a complete, comprehensive list of resources in the Southbridge-area community;

b) Constructing an ideal marketing plan that will help local residents be familiar with the services available, how to contact them, associated fees, locations to visit, etc.

This project was completed.

In FY18, Harrington tried to secure funding for a plan to create a responsive subpage of the hospital website that will allow community members to visit and search this page for local resources. This has been placed on hold pending a systemwide website update with anticipated completion by the end of 2018.