FOR RELEASE: 3 p.m., October 9, 2013

Partners HealthCare, Hallmark Health, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) are proposing a new partnership that brings together the resources of four community hospital campuses and offers patients north of Boston better, more coordinated and cost effective health care. The plan offers more primary care to the region, upgrades the community hospital campuses and invests in psychiatry and behavioral health at a time when the state is losing much-needed capacity.

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“This new partnership with Hallmark Health will bring a more thoughtful approach to health care to the entire region,” said Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “By investing in primary care and doing a better job of coordinating that care, we can keep patients healthier and out of the hospital – ultimately reducing costs in our health care system. The plan also establishes Centers of Excellence in Primary Care and Behavioral Health in Lynn, which will address the Commonwealth’s growing need for world class, compassionate psychiatric care.”

“By keeping patients within a coordinated system, we can track the quality of their care more effectively and focus on the cost of that care by eliminating repetitive procedures, such as tests and imaging that can happen when a patient sees a disconnected number of providers. And, the close proximity of Hallmark Health and Massachusetts General Hospital provides opportunities to coordinate patient services using existing facilities more efficiently for the region,” said Mike Sack, President and CEO of Hallmark Health.

“The vision of integrating care at four community hospitals with the involvement of the MGH is clearly a bold one. Through this vision we can reach our ultimate goal of better care for the patients we serve collectively with our community partners,” said Peter Slavin, MD, President of Massachusetts General Hospital

“This plan offers increased access and better care at lower cost while maintaining vibrant healthcare facilities in both Salem and Lynn. More importantly, it helps build healthier communities for years to come,” said Robert Norton, President of North Shore Medical Center

The proposal brings together the resources of four existing community hospital campuses (below) and builds on the 18-year relationship between Partners and Hallmark Health. By coordinating the work of these four hospitals, resources can be offered and delivered more efficiently while creating new capacity for clinical services in critical demand – including mental health and substance abuse services. The vision will include major investment in health information technology, capital improvement and primary care. 

Hallmark - Lawrence Memorial Hospital (Medford)

  • Transformed into a short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility operated by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), continuing to receive community hospital rates.  The LMH campus will serve acute care patients who are likely to stay in a hospital for less than three days.   This facility will have robust outpatient services in key service lines.  The short stay and the outpatient services may include Orthopedics, Cardiology, Digestive Health – ex: colonoscopies.
  • The urgent medical needs of the Greater Medford community will continue to be met through an Urgent Care Center in the new ambulatory facility.
  • The Emergency Department at Lawrence Memorial will remain open at least during the two-year transition of Lawrence Memorial to the short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility as we evaluate the long-term needs of the community for emergency services.

Hallmark - Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (Melrose)

  • Major investments from Partners and Hallmark Health will fund renovation so that resources at this campus will support the best possible care.
  • The campus, run by Hallmark Health will offer residents expanded capacity in medical, surgical and maternity services, while maintaining inpatient treatment areas for psychiatric patients with acute medical problems.
  • Partners and Hallmark will make investments in primary care that will bring 25 new PCPs to the community.

North Shore Medical Center

  • The NSMC Union Hospital campus will become home to Centers of Excellence in Primary Care and Behavioral Health, with  the latter operated by Massachusetts General Hospital, but continuing to receive community hospital rates. These plans increase capacity in behavioral health and help to address the region’s needs at a time when the state is losing much-needed capacity.
  • The Center of Excellence in Primary Care will be run by North Shore Physicians Group and will include primary, specialty and urgent care as well as lab, infusion and support programs. 
  • Hospital-based medical and surgical services will be consolidated on one campus at NSMC Salem Hospital. We intend to maintain emergency services on both campuses and will determine the level of emergency care at each site based on the needs of the community and patient safety priorities. This transition is expected to take three years during which time Union Hospital will remain open.
  • To accommodate the acute care consolidation, there will be investment in the NSMC Salem Campus – with a new, expanded state-of-the-art emergency department, new inpatient units with private rooms, and improvements in key access areas such as the main entrance and parking – to meet the needs of all patients in the region.
  • Additional investments in primary care will bring 35 new PCPs to North Shore Physician’s Group over the next five years.
  • There is continued investment in community health centers in Lynn and Salem and support for community health initiatives including teen pregnancy and obesity.
  • We are maintaining vibrant health care facilities in Lynn and Salem to meet the needs of NSMC’s communities.

The proposal must undergo a regulatory review process at both the state and federal level.  This review process will likely take at least several months.