April 25, 2024

Morton Hospital: For Taunton and Here to Stay (Letter to Our Community)

As a third generation Tauntonian, all born at Morton Hospital, I was taught the importance of caring for the community around me. That was true when I was a child growing up in Taunton, where my grandparents owned and operated Highland Heights Roller Rink for more than 50 years. And it was true as I got older, starting my healthcare career here at Morton in 1997 and returning in 2016. I have been privileged to serve as President and Chief Financial Officer since 2019. And while my professional titles have changed along the way, I’ve never lost sight of what was instilled in me at such an early age – putting the community first.

Over the years, as I’ve worked to serve my hometown community’s health care needs, I’ve also developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for its people, who, in many cases, are more like family. And every day, I am humbled to see how our hospital and its incredible staff embody this same appreciation and understanding through their tireless, dedicated work.

For more than 135 years, Morton Hospital has been an integral part of the Taunton community and southeastern Massachusetts. Through both good times and bad, we have been proud to be here for the people and patients who need us the most, when it matters the most. And I want to assure you that despite what you might have read lately about our parent company, Steward Health Care, we are more committed than ever to continuing the mission that’s guided us since the very beginning – delivering the highest quality, most compassionate care possible to our valued patients. So, let me just say – there are no plans to close Morton Hospital. We are wholeheartedly dedicated to our community and look forward to continuing to call Taunton home and delivering the exceptional care you’ve come to expect from us.

One of the best parts of my job is witnessing our compassionate and skilled team of physicians, nurses, and professional staff in action. I’m amazed at the level to which they continue to go above and beyond to ensure every patient and family member receives top-notch, personalized care and support. One of our incredible physical therapists, Holly Gismonde, recently told me, “The respect and care we show to each other flows right over into our interactions with our patients. We have big hearts for true compassion, communication, and knowledgeable, skilled care.” This sentiment was echoed by one of our nursing recruiters, Sharon Smith, who told me, “When I think about Morton, I think about the strength, adaptability, and the drive each employee has to make the patient’s visit with us the best it can be. We are a team, a work family.” These are just a few of countless examples of Morton employees who, day in and day out, put duty and service over self to make a difference in the lives of their patients.

That’s why it’s such an honor to see our staff’s hard work receive the well-earned recognition it deserves. Last year, Morton Hospital was honored with Community Choice Awards for “Best Podiatry Clinic,” "Best Weight Loss Center,” and “Best Place to Work.” In 2023, we were also designated as a Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement for showing a commitment to delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes. We also earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® last year for our hospital program and behavioral health opioid treatment program by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards.

Of course, while it’s nice to be recognized, none of us at Morton go into health care for the accolades. We’re here for you and your needs. Because truly, one thing that sets Morton Hospital apart is we take the time to understand the needs of our wider community. We pride ourselves on reaching beyond our hospital walls to address the most pressing health-and wellness-related issues facing our patient population. This is important because we strive to help the most vulnerable among us – the people with the most barriers to care and the least amount of resources. We want to help them make life-changing improvements in health and wellness, considering the socioeconomic factors that can impact our overall well-being. Some of the ways we do this is by assessing the unmet health needs of our community, participating on local action committees, funding community-based health care initiatives, and encouraging the community to engage in healthy lifestyles.

Having served the greater Taunton area for more than a century, Morton Hospital certainly has been through a lot of difficult times, just like the COVID-19 pandemic when we invested heavily in the Taunton community to save lives. But we have always and will always rise to the occasion and double down on doing what’s best for our patients. We will continue to partner with the community. We will continue to provide important, life-saving services and care. And we will continue to make sure the community knows we are here for them and can serve them at any time.

Our commitment to Taunton is strong and unwavering. This is my hometown, Morton is my home, and our family here is your family.