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March 2021
Programs
Coming Soon:
Dr. Aditi Ahlawat, neurologist, will be conducting a lecture entitled, “On Pins and Needles: Living with Neuropathy

Check our website milfordregional.org, classes/events in 2-3 weeks
Registration for our Spring Wellness Classes on Zoom opened on March 1
In This Issue
COVID-19 Vaccine is Safe and Effective

What is a Healthcare Proxy?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Patient Story: Physical Therapy for Chest Pain

Featured Video: Stronger Together

Milford Regional Medical Center 2020 Report to the Community

New Chief Medical Officer Joins Milford Regional’s Leadership Team

Maternity Care Recognition from Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Need a Primary Care Physician?

Get to Know Our Breast Surgeons
News Brief
COVID-19 Vaccine is Safe and Effective
Although the majority of people who currently qualify to get the vaccine have been very anxious to get an appointment, unfortunately the demand has far outpaced supply. We are hopeful the supply will increase in the next several weeks.

We also know that some people are hesitant about getting the vaccine. Here are a few facts from the CDC website that might help ease those that question the safety of the vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine was developed quickly but all of the same safety steps were followed for this vaccine that are used for all vaccines.  Vaccine companies were able to move quickly because: 

They used existing research and information on coronavirus
COVID-19 is part of a family of viruses that has been studied for a long time. The vaccine developers used this existing research to help develop the COVID-19 vaccine. 
Governments funded vaccine research
The United States and other governments invested a lot of money to help vaccine companies with their work. 
Tens of thousands of people participated in vaccine studies
Studies of the vaccine (called Clinical Trials) were conducted to prove the vaccine is safe and effective. Tens of thousands of people signed up for the studies, so companies did not need to spend a lot of time finding volunteers.
Manufacturing happened at the same time as the safety studies
Vaccine companies started making the vaccine at the same time as studies were happening in hopes that it would be proven safe and effective. This meant that vaccines were ready to be distributed once they were approved. This saved valuable time.

Since the vaccines were approved, millions of people of different races and ethnicities have been vaccinated, and most have only experienced mild side effects.

The two vaccines currently being given in Massachusetts, Pfizer and Moderna, have undergone the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) emergency use authorization (EUA) process. An EUA provides quicker access to critical medical products—like medicines and tests—when there are no other adequate, approved, and available options. In granting an EUA, the FDA balances the known risks of the product with the known benefits. 

In Massachusetts, infectious disease specialists also reviewed the EUA data, and provided an independent opinion about vaccine safety and efficacy.

While more COVID-19 vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. Safety is a top priority.
 
There are many important reasons to get vaccinated.
  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Massachusetts have been shown to be highly effective (over 90%) at preventing COVID-19.
  • All COVID-19 vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
  • Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, your family and friends, particularly people who are at increased risk for becoming seriously ill.

Some people are concerned that the vaccine can give them the COVID virus. This is not true. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines or those that are currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever or body aches. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Most side effects only last a day or two.

Wearing masks, social distancing and washing your hands help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Stopping a pandemic requires using ALL the tools we have available; this is why getting vaccinated is so very important for all of us.

Learn more at CDC.gov and mass.gov websites.
Question & Answer
What is a healthcare proxy?
A healthcare proxy is a legal document that allows you to choose a person who can make decisions about your medical care in the event you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.

An organization entitled, The Conversation Project, was developed to help people talk with loved ones openly and honestly about your end of life wishes. Their website provides several starter kits that contain facts and tips on how to have this important conversation, whether you are getting ready to tell someone else what you want, or you want to help someone else get ready to share their wishes. To read more or download a form, go to our website.
Healthy Living Tip
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B-12 plays an essential role in red blood cell production, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA, the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information.

As with many vitamins, our bodies can’t produce vitamin B-12; therefore we need to get it from food sources or a supplement. Vegetarians can sometimes be deficient in this vitamin since it is not found in plant foods. Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients such as celiac or Crohn’s disease also are susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency. So can the use of commonly prescribed heartburn drugs, which reduce acid production in the stomach (acid is needed to absorb vitamin B12).

Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals and grains, and is available as an oral supplement. The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.

Left untreated, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, or nerve issues. If you think you may be deficient in vitamin B-12, ask your doctor to check your level in your blood. If you are, it is easily corrected with a change in diet or a supplement. Always check with your doctor first, before taking any kind of supplement.
Patient Story: Physical Therapy for Chest Pain
For several years, Todd Whiteley was plagued with chest pain. He had consulted with four cardiologists, two gastroenterologists, two pain specialists, a physical therapist and a spinal surgeon. Todd, 47, notes that he underwent at least four cardiac catheterizations, two endoscopy tests, two MRIs, five injections near his spine, and three injections near his chest wall. He went to a chiropractor for a year, saw an acupuncturist, and tried oral medications, ointments, and massage; all to no avail.

After an MRI revealed a bulging disc near a nerve bundle, Todd was referred to Milford Regional’s Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine in Milford.
Featured Video
Stronger Together 
Stronger Together - This is what we ultimately learned in 2020.

We need each other to accomplish great things and to successfully tackle the most difficult of circumstances; in 2020 we did both.

This video is our “Thank You” to everyone in our healthcare system and the community for coming together when we needed you most.
Good Things to Know
Milford Regional Medical Center 2020 Report to the Community
On Monday, January 25, Milford Regional held its annual meeting of the Corporation in a virtual forum. At that time, we released our 2020 annual report to the community.  We would like to share that report with you.

Read about the COVID-19 response of our medical staff and our community, meet the new, world-class physicians who have joined our medical staff, find out about our new programs and services and learn about our community benefits. Read our annual report.
New Chief Medical Officer Joins Milford Regional’s Leadership Team
Milford Regional is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter B. Smulowitz, MD, MPH, as Chief Medical Officer .  Dr. Smulowitz is an experienced emergency medicine physician as well as a proven innovative leader.

Dr. Smulowitz earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1998 and graduated from the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine in Irvine, California, in 2003 with a degree in medicine. He performed an emergency medicine residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and earned a Masters of Public Health (Health Policy and Administration) from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston in 2006.

Prior to joining Milford Regional, Dr. Smulowitz held many leadership positions in the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital system, including Chair of Emergency Medicine at the Needham campus, co-leader of a state-funded program to manage the Plymouth campus’s Complex Patient Population and Integrated Care Initiative, and oversaw a pilot program at the hospital’s Boston campus to redesign the hospital’s response to major adverse events.

Dr. Smulowitz has also held leadership positions outside of his hospital affiliations, including a term as president of the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians and was once a candidate for Massachusetts State Senate. In addition, he is an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and has several research publications and scholarly articles to his credit.

“We welcome Dr. Smulowitz to our leadership team,” says Edward J. Kelly, president and CEO. “We are so pleased to have such an experienced physician as our Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Smulowitz’s expertise in emergency medicine and leadership skills will ensure that our medical staff continues to provide the highest-quality care to our community."
Maternity Care Recognition from Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Milford Regional Medical Center has been recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts with a Blue Distinction Centers+ (BDC+) for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. To help address racial disparities in care and to help ensure the better health of mothers, The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association enhanced its quality evaluation for the Maternity Care program to address key factors driving the United States’ maternal health crisis, such as preventable or treatable pregnancy-related conditions, high utilization of Caesarean sections, and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare.

Quality is key: only those health care facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally-established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+. Research shows that, compared to other providers, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. Read the full press release.
About Our Doctors
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Milford Regional's active medical staff, consisting of over 250 doctors, is highly qualified to treat you and your family through sickness and in health. Whether you need a primary care physician or a specialist, you can be assured of the best possible care.

Need a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
If you need a physician, please call our Physician Referral Line at 1-888-DRS-HERE (1-888-377-4373). Our Referral Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For a quick look, see our list of primary care providers who are accepting new patients. It is important to note that not all physicians accept all insurances. Please call the physician's office directly to find out if they accept your insurance plan.

Get to Know our Breast Surgeons
Surgeons who specialize in breast surgery diagnose and treat conditions of the breast. At Milford Regional, we have a highly experienced Breast Center team who work together to provide an individualized, multi-disciplinary team approach for all screening, diagnostic, high-risk evaluation and cancer treatment needs and, when necessary, a seamless collaboration with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional. Milford Regional is fortunate to have recently welcomed a second breast surgeon, Catharine Crawford, MD, to the Breast Center. Catharine Crawford, MD has joined Diana Caragacianu, MD, Medical Director of the Breast Center. Read more about each of these highly experienced surgeons. 
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