Fairview Hospital has been named a five-star hospital by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Photo courtesy Berkshire Health Systems

Business Briefs: Fairview named five-star hospital; grant for VIM Berkshires; Age Friendly Berkshires to celebrate action plan; new board member for CDCSB; new hire, advisor at Cross Insurance

The grant will enable VIM to hire a part-time dentist, which will allow the organization to treat an additional 75 to 100 patients each year.

Fairview named five-star hospital

Great Barrington — Fairview Hospital has been named a five-star hospital by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The ratings, which relate to patients’ experiences of care, are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey of more than 4,000 Medicare-certified acute-care hospitals across the country. The survey focused on composite topics such as nurse and doctor communication; responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management and communication about medicines, discharge information and care transition; individual topics such as cleanliness and quietness of hospital environment; and global topics including hospital ratings and willingness to recommend a hospital.

“We are honored to receive one of the federal government’s highest commendations for hospitals. Our entire team works hard and is gratified that our patients feel they receive outstanding care when they choose Fairview Hospital and our Health System,” said Anthony Rinaldi, Fairview’s executive vice president.


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VIM Berkshires receives grant to expand dental care access

Great Barrington — Volunteers in Medicine Berkshire has received a $25,000 Expanding Access to Dental Care grant from the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation. The grant will enable VIM to hire a part-time dentist for its dental program to supplement the work of its volunteers, which will allow the organization to treat an additional 75 to 100 patients each year.

Dental services were among VIM’s first offerings following its opening in 2004. VIM’s services are provided by volunteer clinicians who are supported by a small paid staff. Services range from routine cleaning to complicated tooth extractions, bridges and full dentures.

“Relying on both retired and still-practicing dentists, VIM has worked valiantly to keep up with an increase in patient numbers,” said VIM Berkshires dental director Dr. William Hayhurst. “This funding for a new part-time dentist will help VIM continue to meet its commitment to provide free care for qualified individuals. This commitment is vital to the oral health of hundreds of residents in the region.”

In the fiscal year ending in June 2017, VIM Berkshires provided more than $500,000 in free dental services to more than 550 members of the community, an increase of more than 30 percent over the prior year. With an increasing number of veterans without dental insurance who are visiting VIM, an increasing number of patients over 65 who have no dental insurance and the general aging of the area’s population, VIM expects the trend to continue.


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Age Friendly Berkshires to celebrate action plan

Massachusetts Secretary for Elder Affairs Alice Bonner. Photo courtesy mass.gov

Pittsfield — The public is invited to celebrate the official launch of the Age Friendly Berkshires action plan Tuesday, March 13, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Berkshire Hills Country Club. The event is the culmination of a multi-year planning process involving hundreds of county residents, organizations, government leaders, businesses and community groups who produced an action plan for how to make the Berkshires “a great place to grow up and a great place to grow old.” The Age Friendly Berkshires initiative joins both the international and national age-friendly movements created by the large number of baby boomers living longer, healthier lives and forming communities that support a more active aging lifestyle.

The celebration will offer highlights of the details of the action plan, a panel discussion on local age-friendly activities already underway and breakout sessions on how to get started becoming age-friendly at home or at work. Event guests will include Massachusetts Secretary for Elder Affairs Alice Bonner; Tufts Health Plan Foundation President Nora Moreno Cargie; and Kara Cohen, community outreach director for AARP Massachusetts. Berkshire County dignitaries, municipal officials and community leaders will also be in attendance.

The event is free, but registration is required. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 442-1520 x16.


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CDCSB gains board member

Rona Easton. Photo courtesy Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire

Great Barrington — The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire has announced the addition of Rona Easton of New Marlborough to its board of directors.

Easton is a licensed practicing architect who was born in Scotland and spent years in Europe, Hong Kong and New York before moving to New Marlborough in 2014. Since relocating to the Berkshires, she has volunteered with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity on its first high-performance new homes and oversees developments under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act as a member of the New Marlborough Conservation Commission.


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Cross Insurance welcomes new hire, announces advisor distinction

Wendy Viola. Photo courtesy Cross Insurance

Pittsfield — Cross Insurance has announced that it has hired Wendy Viola as a commercial lines account manager. Viola has over 23 years of experience in the insurance industry, holding a property and casualty insurance license as well as the designations of certified insurance service representative and certified commercial lines professional, and is currently working on her certified insurance counselor designation. She serves as the assistant director for the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women and lives in Great Barrington with her husband, Mark.

Jackie Dolan Kelly. Photo courtesy Cross Insurance

Cross has also announced that employee Jackie Dolan Kelly has earned the designation of accredited advisor in insurance. A third-generation insurance professional, Kelly also holds a property and casualty license, and has successfully completed commercial lines coursework through Liberty Mutual. She has chaired 1Berkshire’s Berkshire Young Professionals and Berkshire Leadership programs and lives in Dalton with her husband, Ron, and their two daughters.