📷 Governor Charlie Baker visits Harrington Hospital in Southbridge for the groundbreaking ceremony of the hospital’s emergency room renovation project. Sarah Champagne photo

By Sarah Champagne, Managing Editor

SOUTHBRIDGE – A scheduled groundbreaking ceremony for the emergency room renovation at Harrington Hospital was met with a steady rainfall Tuesday, Sept. 25, so attendees gathered under an event-style tent to celebrate the project and welcome special guest Governor Charlie Baker to the ceremony.

Baker was introduced by Harrington Healthcare System CEO Ed Moore, who thanked supporters of the ongoing Emergency Service Capital Campaign, including major campaign donors the Hardy and Peppel families, the Clemence and Rawls families, the Detarando family and Incom, with additional significant support from Harrington Auxillary, Cornerstone Bank, Access Ambulance and Renaissance Medical Group.

Moore also described a grant for $486,000 awarded to Harrington in July by the Massachusetts Healthcare Policy Commission, which will be used to address the opioid crisis. The funds will be used to implement the use of suboxone in the emergency room for patients who are overdosing and to hire a recovery specialist. The new treatment approach will become available Oct. 1.

The CEO detailed some of the improvements that will come with the renovation, including an expanded capacity to see 35,000 patients annually, an additional 2,500 square feet of space, updates to the existing 8,500 square feet, increased safety features and a dedicated computerized tomography (CT) scanner located in the emergency room.

When Moore indicated that he would list Governor Baker’s background and accomplishments as a final part of his introduction, Governor Baker interrupted Moore, asking that he skip over that part of the presentation.

“Don’t read that. Anyone who has a long bio, all that means is that they’re old,” Baker joked.

Baker went on to speak about Harrington’s strength as a community hospital covering a large geographic area with a diverse patient base.

“One of the things that happens to a lot of organizations is that over time they tend to look in instead of looking out. And one of the things I admire about the culture and the sentiment when I was here is, this is a system that is really focused on looking out and finding a way to be as oriented as they can to the needs and the concerns of this community,” he remarked.

Baker visited Dexter Russel in Southbridge after his visit to Harrington Hospital. There, he commented on the longevity of the 200-year old company, which has been located in Southbridge for the entirety of its existence. Baker remarked that not many companies can adapt and innovate to survive 50 or 100 years, much less two centuries in business, calling the company’s success “a great story and part of a great tradition.”

Baker then took a tour of the Dexter Russell’s factory before completing his visit to Southbridge.

 

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