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Berkshire Medical Center Wins 2nd Clinical Excellence Award
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
09:28PM / Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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The Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence is the hospital's second in four years.

Dr. Gray Ellrodt accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Medical Center staff have a lot to be proud of.

The hospital was awarded its second Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence from an independent assessment group. Healthgrades assessed more than 4,500 hospitals in an array of procedures and BMC ranked near the top.

On Wednesday, Healthgrades presented the award to hospital officials at Berkshire Health Systems' annual meeting.

"If all hospitals performed at this level, 164,414 lives would have been saved," said Heathgrades Vice President Lisa Esch. "Doing this, I get to see into what really happens across the county and hospitals don't get to this point on accident."

The award was presented to Chief of Medicine Dr. Gray Ellrodt and Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly. But it isn't the hospital's first honor. It won the same award in 2009.

Ellrodt said the honor is a "team award" and at the annual meeting held at the Colonial Theatre, Berkshire Health Systems honored a few of those team members. Ralph Lichtenstein was presented the Gladys Allen Brigham Award; Mario DeMartino, the Francis X. Doyle Award and Janet Dohoney, the C. Bernard and Irene Shea Award.

The Brigham Award honored Lichtensten for being one who "contributed to the growth and development of community healthcare and services with particular devotion to Berkshire Medical Center," and his “enthusiasm, loyalty, and leadership in support of BMC through the auxiliary."

According to Kelly, who presented the award, Litchtensten, known as "R.L." can be seen roaming around the hospital at all hours to get a feeling what it is like for patients. He has taken the leadership roles in the volunteer patient advisory council, which formulates recommendation to improve the patient experience.

"He is a strong leader who believes in us," she said. "We are fortunate that R.L. and his wife, Cynthia, chose Berkshire County."

Ralph Litchtensten is known for coming into the hospital at all hours to see how various patients are treated.

Dohoney reeled in the Shea Award for her volunteer work at Fairview Hospital. Fairview's President Eugene Dellea said Dohoney knows the importance of "high-quality care" and has dedicated herself to helping the Fairview Auxiliary.

"Janet has been a critical part of the auxiliary for more than 30 years," Dellea said. "She has strengthened our efforts."

Dohoney was director of volunteers for last 14 years — from 1994 to 2008 — oversaw the gift shop, and is on the Fairview Gold Classic Committee. She help create the patient family advisory committee in 2010.

DeMartino was given the Doyle Award for his effort in community service. He has sat on an array of community boards, including chairing the Ethnic Fair, Pontoosuc Lake Advisory Committee, YMCA, HospiceCare of the Berkshires and others.

Berkshire Health Systems President David Phelps said DeMartino is "always supportive and always committed" to community services as well as being one of the first to advocate for a merger with Hillcrest. DeMartino, a longtime physical therapist, first got involved with Berkshire Health Systems in 1970, Phelps said.

"His passion for our community is boundless," Phelps said.

While those awards were the only ones listed on the agenda, the meeting was hijacked moments before Phelps could call for adjournment. With a video presentation and plaque, hospital officials surprised Phelps with a presentation honoring his 20 years as the organization's leader.

John Rogers, BHS general council and vice president, told stories of the "very dark" days when Phelps first joined and credited him with rebuilding the entire system and restoring its fiscal health.

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