HHS announces affiliation plans with Partners HealthCare System

Hallmark Health System (HHS), which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH), today announced the details of its affiliation plans with Partners HealthCare. The goal of this affiliation is to provide high-quality, coordinated care to HHS patients in the most appropriate locations, and whenever possible, closer to their homes in lower cost community settings, the foundation of our Population Health Management initiative.

The value for HHS affiliating with Partners is the opportunity to become a fully integrated member of a coordinated system of care with primary, secondary and some tertiary care in the community and the availability of critically acute or research-based care at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the highest ranked hospitals in the country.  By keeping patients within a coordinated system, HHS 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. Working within a coordinated system will also diminish fragmentation of care, which is a known cause for increased costs. And the proximity of Hallmark Health System and MGH provides the opportunity to use existing facilities more efficiently and effectively to coordinate available patient services for the region.

Our plan calls for LMH to transition to a short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility operated by MGH. The LMH campus will serve patients who are likely to stay in a hospital for less than three days. This facility will have robust outpatient services, which may include orthopedics, cardiology and digestive health. The Emergency Department (ED) will remain open during the two-year transition of LMH to the short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility as HHS evaluates community support and use of the ED. The urgent medical needs of the greater Medford community will continue to be met through the current Urgent Care Center. Major renovations to this campus are being planned to transform the hospital into a modern, state-of-the-art facility.

MWH will remain a full service acute care hospital. Major investments from Partners and HHS will fund renovations so that resources at this campus remain state-of-the-art and HHS will have expanded capacity in medical, surgical and maternity services and potentially additional inpatient treatment areas for psychiatric patients with acute medical problems. This hospital will continue to operate under the HHS license.  

Plans also call for MGH, in collaboration with Hallmark Health, to invest in an outpatient cancer center in the Stoneham area, increasing capacity in medical oncology and radiation oncology to accommodate more patients in a community-based center.

We expect to recruit twenty- five new primary care physicians which will help keep care in the community in lower cost settings and closer to the homes of patients. Major investments will also be made in state of the art information technology that will help improve community based coordinated care at lower costs.

The exciting HHS affiliation with Partners and MGH is essential to succeed in the new era of health care that focuses on better managing the health needs of the population, keeping people healthier and out of the hospital and lowering the long term cost of health care. The affiliation will ensure future access to high quality, efficiently delivered and advanced medical care for patients, their children and future generations across the communities we serve.

Both organizations are moving ahead to obtain regulatory approval for the affiliation, which will ultimately include a comprehensive review by the U.S. Department of Justice, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

For more information about HHS, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology and the Joslin Diabetes Center for diabetes care.

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