Milford Regional Medical Center’s Community Benefits Program is based on the results of the triennial Community Health Needs Assessment conducted in FY 2018. Through that process, four priority areas were defined: Behavioral Health/Substance Use Disorder, Health Care Access, Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention, and Violence Prevention. The Community Benefits Leadership Team, working with the Community Benefits Advisory Committee which includes residents from across our service area, created a three-year Strategic Implementation Plan to address those four priority areas.
Continuing Our Commitment to the Community
FY 2020 brought Milford Regional closer to the end of the current three-year plan with many unanticipated changes due to the global pandemic. A significant step was made to address substance use disorder in our region and events were held to provide education and training on pressing health topics across the lifespan – from vaping to elderly mental health issues. Just as the program hit its stride, the onset of the COVID-19 crisis forced the cancellation of many planned programs. However, in the face of adversity comes opportunity. Milford Regional responded quickly to the needs of the community that were highlighted by the health emergency and continues to adjust its community benefits programming where necessary.
Some of the achievements in the past year…
- Milford Regional Medical Center worked jointly with Cornerstone at Milford Senior Living to plan and present The Dementia Experience, a program that uses sensory modifications and role-playing activities to depict real-life situations that a person living with mild cognitive impairment or dementia would face. The program was free to the community and was attended by more than 40 people at the Milford Senior Center.
- Milford Regional worked with the Central Massachusetts Tobacco Free Community Partnership, school districts within our service area and Valley Chapel to offer a program to address the health effects of vaping, and what signs to look for to know if a teen is using electronic vaping products. The program was offered in October 2019 and was attended by approximately 30 parents, educators, teens and social workers.
- Milford Regional Medical Center continued to fund fitness classes at the Milford Youth Center’s After School Program throughout the school year. Each class ends with a healthy snack. A new addition to the line-up this year was Pound, an aerobic and strength workout using weighted drumsticks.
Community Health Network Area
Milford Regional has maintained its strong working partnership with the Community Health Network Area Region 6 (CHNA 6) and is represented on the organization’s Steering Committee. In FY 2020, nearly $200,000 was awarded in grants to local non-profit agencies and organizations. The grants are largely funded by money from Milford Regional through the state’s Determination of Need process that was required when building the Meehan Family Pavilion in 2015.
Among the grant recipients are:
- Riverside Community Care Outpatient Center for a yoga and self-awareness training program to help high school students manage stress and anxiety.
- Wayside Youth & Family Support Network, Inc. to embed a clinician at Stacy Middle School in Milford to provide mental health counseling during school hours.
- Abundant Care Inc. to provide personal products for the underserved and immigrant populations.
- Hockomock Area YMCA for a Centralized Model for School Food Pantries in Milford.
- The Franklin Food Pantry for a community garden.
In June, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be felt in earnest, the CHNA 6 Steering Committee – decided to offer Emergency Grants related to COVID-19. These grants were offered monthly in an effort to be responsive in a timely manner to emerging community health needs. From June through September, $122,227.40 was awarded to 14 agencies to fund various programs to address increased food insecurity, to support telehealth services (especially for mental health providers and social service agencies) and many other COVID related needs.
In FY 2021, Milford Regional will be conducting its next Community Health Needs Assessment and will create another three-year Strategic Implementation Plan to address those needs. The work to be conducted over the next year will provide valuable insight to not only how the Medical Center was able to effect change within our region, but how the health needs of our community have evolved over the same time period.