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Hazel Hawkins receives grant for rural vaccination efforts

Funds come from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Representatives from Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital spoke at a Tele-Town Hall last Friday.

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has received a federal grant to “promote vaccine confidence and awareness” in San Benito County, says a press release from the Hollister-based hospital.

Specifically, the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will go to HHMH’s rural health centers. “HHMH will employ a robust work plan to reinforce messages about prevention and treatment of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases,” says the press release.

Grant-funded efforts in the hospital’s five rural health clinics will include vaccine promotion, information dissemination to rural residents about how to get vaccinated, and increased rural community and individual patient literacy on the benefits and safety of widespread vaccination, according to Hazel Hawkins.

The amount of the grant is $247,645.

“This grant provides us with an excellent opportunity to provide vaccine confidence and awareness to not only our patients, but the entire community” said Amy Breen-Lema, Director of Provider Services and Clinic Operations for HHMH. “The educational campaign we will be embarking on will highlight the safety, efficacy and benefits of broad vaccination ranging from Covid-19 to pneumonia, flu, booster shots and childhood immunizations.”

Gold Seal of Approval

HHMH also announced this week that both the hospital and its Home Health Agency have each received the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and Accreditation. In addition, HHMH received a three-year accreditation “by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards,” says a press release from HHMH.

The Gold Seal is a “symbol of quality that reflects a healthcare organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care,” says the press release.

The hospital and its Home Health Agency, also known as San Benito Home Health Care, each underwent unannounced, comprehensive onsite reviews by the Joint Commission in June. During the visits, reviewers evaluated the facilities’ compliance with health care standards in several areas, including emergency preparedness, infection prevention and control and leadership.

“As a private accreditor, The Joint Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, of The Joint Commission. “We commend Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital and San Benito Home Health Agency for their continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”

Hazel Hawkins CEO Steve Hannah said, “Achieving this accreditation means we have met the highest standards set forth by their organization. We have an excellent team at HHMH. I applaud their high standards along with their dedication to excellence in patient care and safety.”