In some ways, Heywood Hospital is a traditional hospital providing emergency care, surgeries and inpatient care.
Heywood is a non-profit community-owned hospital licensed for 134 bed hospital, located in Gardner. The medical staff includes 200 active, courtesy, and consulting physicians in primary care and a multitude of specialties.
But what makes the hospital unique is its commitment to ensuring the health of the community in and outside its walls, said Winfield Brown, president and chief executive officer of Heywood Healthcare.
“It goes beyond doctor’s appointments, tests and procedures,’’ Brown said. “We focus on the social determinants of health and how do we set up our communities to be more healthy. What are we doing for kids, what are the things getting in the way of health care access and looking at the most vulnerable.’’
Dawn Casavant, vice president of external affairs and philanthropy, said Heywood has programs that meet people where they are – at school or a community setting, for example.
“What makes us unique is the level of community partnerships and collaborations we have to address the needs that are often unmet and prevalent in our community,’’ Casavant said.
Some of those needs address childhood trauma, food insecurity or behavioral health, she said.
The hospital itself also has a special program to address needs specific to North Central Massachusetts such as an inpatient psychiatric unit and a geriatric psychiatric unit.
And of course the hospital is dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, treating patients and providing free testing. In November 2020, the hospital tested 6,600 individuals. On average the hospital has been testing 200 people a day seven days a week by appointment only.
The pandemic has also led to an increase in the need for behavioral health and addiction services, they said. And it’s also created a need to remind the community to maintain regular preventative care such as mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations and well-child visits.
Looking toward the future, the hospital will continue to expand its primary and specialty care into the community but will also be making improvements on campus.
The hospital is in the midst of two major projects – one that will make the hospital more energy efficient and another that will improve its surgical space. The project calls for six new operating rooms, which will provide state-of-the-art equipment and the space to accommodate growth in areas such as orthopedics, general surgery, gastroenterology, plastics, geriatrics and weight loss surgery.
Brown said the hospital takes great prides in its focus on quality and safety.
Heywood also recently received ‘A’ in the fall 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a distinction recognizing its achievements protecting patients from harm and providing safer health care.
“This should reassure the community that we provide exceptional care close to home,’’ Brown said.
Heywood Hospital is part of Heywood Healthcare, an independent community-owned healthcare system dedicated to providing quality healthcare services to the residents of North Central Massachusetts. It also includes Athol Hospital, Heywood Medical Group, Heywood Rehabilitation Center, Murdock School-based Health Center, The Quabbin Retreat, and the Winchendon Health Center.
Heywood Hospital is located at 242 Green St. in Gardner. It can be reached at 978.632.3420 and www.Heywood.org.