About Our Plan
North Shore Medical Center and Partners HealthCare have developed an integrated plan that improves care and coordination across a wide spectrum of health services. This strategy realigns practices and facilities to make high-quality care more effective and accessible to residents of the North Shore and addresses the most pressing health needs of the community.
The plan involves North Shore Medical Center, which includes Salem Hospital and Lynn’s Union Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Hallmark Health, which has reached a memorandum of understanding with Partners HealthCare. Hallmark Health operates Lawrence Memorial (Medford) and Melrose-Wakefield hospitals.
Key elements of the plan include:
- Expanding primary, specialty, urgent care and behavioral health services throughout the North Shore, at North Shore Physicians Group’s more than 15 practices and in Lynn, Salem, and Peabody in collaboration with the Lynn Community Health Center and North Shore Community Health centers;
- Maintaining a vital health care facility in Lynn by creating Centers of Excellence in Primary Care and Behavioral Health on the Union Hospital campus, with psychiatry and behavioral health operated by Massachusetts General Hospital. Care will continue to be reimbursed at community payment rates which are lower than those paid to academic medical centers in Boston;
- Consolidating NSMC hospital-based medical and surgical services on one campus at Salem Hospital and expanding and improving that facility to serve the needs of the broader community;
- Enhancing urgent care in multiple locations including the North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) practices on the Union Hospital campus and at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers.
This plan will deliver the highest quality care to our patients in a comprehensive and thoughtful way. In the new heath care environment, this plan supports both better coordination of care and healthier communities.
Changes based on need
To guide this strategy, NSMC completed a comprehensive Health Needs Assessment of the communities it serves. The results of that assessment clearly reflect the shift in health needs that has occurred over the last decade, with access to primary care, specialty care and urgent care identified as a universal demand. Mental health and substance abuse services were the top priority throughout all communities, and improving access to care for vulnerable populations was a consistent theme.
Expanded outpatient care in Lynn
As care increasingly shifts to outpatient settings and the role of primary care expands, NSMC will be enhancing its North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) practices both on the Union Campus and throughout the North Shore. In Lynn, the Center of Excellence will include primary and specialty physician care, urgent care and associated outpatient services such as lab, infusion and support services. This practice will serve a wide range of health care needs of local residents.
NSMC also intends to maintain emergency services on both the Salem and Union hospital campuses. The level of emergency care at each site will be 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 as an acute care hospital.
Continued investment in community health
The plan includes continued investment in community health. NSMC and Partners are building on years of collaboration with community organizations, the Lynn Community Health Center and North Shore Community Health Centers to increase access to a spectrum of care. In addition to providing support for vulnerable populations, NSMC will collaborate on focused efforts to address obesity, teen pregnancy and substance abuse in local neighborhoods.
Meeting a critical need
The Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health on the Union campus will include inpatient and some outpatient psychiatry and behavioral health services and be operated by Massachusetts General Hospital. Psychiatry beds currently located at Hallmark Health System’s Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and NSMC’s Salem Hospital will be relocated to the Union Campus.
Care will continue to be reimbursed at community payment rates, which are lower than those paid to the academic medical centers in Boston.
Additionally, outpatient behavioral health services will be expanded throughout local communities.
Improvements at NSMC Salem Hospital
To accommodate the consolidation of medical and surgical care, NSMC and Partners are building a new and expanded state-of-the-art Emergency Department and additional inpatient units with private rooms and family centered facilities at Salem Hospital. Key access areas such as the main entrance and parking will also be reconfigured and renovated to improve way finding and provide a more welcoming and efficient patient experience.
More integrated care improves quality, coordination
Integral to the plan are new models of care at NSMC that improve coordination, efficiency and safety. One example is the Integrated Care Management Program that is helping to manage the most complex patients, preventing admissions and unnecessary emergency room visits with better care coordination and early interventions.
By making the best use of health care resources available in the region to the greatest benefit of patients in the area, we are advancing the goals of population health management. By caring for patients within a coordinated system, we can monitor the quality of care more effectively and avoid repetitive procedures, such as tests and imaging that can happen when a patient sees a disconnected number of providers.