During 2021 the entire Milford Regional team united to face many of the same challenges that have impacted healthcare providers across the country. Patient demand for services was very high due to many factors: providing care that was postponed in 2020, managing ongoing COVID-19 surges, and administering vaccines. While demand for quality healthcare services increased, critical staffing issues in every segment of healthcare in Massachusetts caused a disruption in typical care patterns. Our academic medical centers – a hallmark of the state’s nationally recognized health care – also had serious staffing issues, as have long-term care facilities. This situation created a crucial delay in the transfer of patients out of Milford Regional’s in-patient beds and Emergency Department to our partners for advanced critical care or to nursing homes and rehabilitation sites for longer term care. We, like other community hospitals, have been called upon to help our patients and staff endure this historic challenge.
Indeed, our team has risen to the call. Over the past year, I have seen more teamwork throughout Milford Regional than ever before. At every level of our organization, from physicians and physician office staff, nurses and technicians to dietary and housekeeping professionals, facility security, human resources, technology experts and hundreds of dedicated community volunteers, everyone has continued to do more than their share to keep our community safe and well.
As the COVID-19 vaccines began to roll out, we established a community vaccination clinic that served more than 6,000 patients. It was an incredible effort by all who responded to meet patient demand on several fronts which was, at times, overwhelming. The health of our staff, too, was paramount to our mission and over 99% of our active employees are now vaccinated.
What’s even more inspiring is that in the face of these unprecedented challenges borne of COVID-19 surges and staffing shortages, Milford Regional has garnered awards and accolades that point to our team’s enduring dedication to quality in every corner of the institution. It is especially notable that Milford Regional Medical Center earned its 7th consecutive Safety Grade “A” from The Leapfrog Group, a respected national standard-bearer for hospital quality. Often ranked at the very top of states with the best healthcare institutions, Massachusetts is home to 102 hospitals of different sizes. Yet only eight Massachusetts hospitals have achieved seven or more consecutive Leapfrog “A” Safety Grades and Milford Regional is one of them. In addition, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded Milford Regional a five-star rating for quality and safety.
These national recognitions are a tangible affirmation of our investments made in recent years in the area of quality and our team’s enduring dedication to keeping patients safe. These and other quality scores, which you will read about throughout this year’s Report to the Community, have also positively impacted our reimbursement rates, which is crucial to our financial health.
Given the increased costs, unusual healthcare needs, disruptions in typical care patterns and other factors, we ended FY 2021 with a loss of $13 million from operations. In FY 2020, we experienced a $21 million loss from operations, however we received $16 million in Cares Act relief, which helped to reduce that loss to $5 million. Our team is still actively pursuing additional FY 2021 CARES Act funding through the Massachusetts Hospital Association, based on a matrix of requirements for different funding streams.
As we look to 2022 and beyond, the key premise of our immediate plans continues to be serving our community and getting through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are so fortunate to have a highly regarded medical staff comprised of talented physicians. They are employed at MRPG, committed private practice physicians and those who come to us through our academic medical partners, UMass Memorial, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. These partnerships put us in a unique position to successfully meet our objectives going forward. In addition, we are home to highly skilled nurses and dedicated support staff, all of whom have contributed on the frontline during this extraordinary time in history.
At the same time, we continue to work on longer-term goals for Milford Regional. We have actively started a new Facilities Master Plan with our Building Committee to tackle the years-long planning necessary to ensure that we are able to provide the additional capacity needs forecasted as our community grows and evolves. It is this kind of strategic planning that allowed us to expand our Emergency Department and ICU, as well as many other initiatives in the past. We believe it is once again time for visionary thinking and thoughtful planning.
We are also fortunate to have community leadership and oversight through our Milford Regional Board of Trustees and this year we welcome Laura Mann as the first female chair of the Board. Laura, who is a respected attorney, is known for her excellent standing and leadership in the community. Her long-time ambassadorship of Milford Regional, and her willingness to jump in and help during COVID-19, makes her a perfect leader for this critical point in time.
It’s been incredible to see the entire team tackle the challenges of COVID-19 and I am more confident than ever that Milford Regional is up to the challenge of serving our patients and the community with quality and excellence into the future.
Edward J. Kelly
President & CEO
Milford Regional Medical Center