How will patients benefit from the transition in care?
Simply put, we will offer increased access and better care at lower costs.
We are meeting the most pressing needs of our patients and communities by structuring our practices and facilities to improve access to high-quality primary, urgent and specialty care. Additionally, we are increasing capacity in behavioral health, and making the best use of our resources across the system.
What will happen to the Union Hospital campus in Lynn?
Until construction is completed, estimated to be in October 2019, Union Hospital will remain operational.
NSMC’s plan includes significant construction on the Salem Hospital Campus to accommodate key services that will be consolidated from Union Hospital in Lynn. In addition, NSMC will be expanding outpatient services across the region and partnering with community health organizations to serve the health needs of local residents.
NSMC has also engaged with Lynn city officials and the Lynn community to discuss the best options for reuse of the Union Hospital campus after consolidation is complete.
Expanded Specialty Care:
The North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) practice in Lynn will remain. It will offer primary and specialty care (Endocrinology, Gynecology, Gastroenterology (GI) and Rheumatology) as well as lab services for blood work and similar routine tests. Infusion, nutrition counseling and diabetes management is also available.
It is also important to note that NSPG extends well beyond Lynn and the services offered in that location. While the Lynn practice is among our most robust, additional services and expertise is available through NSPG’s nearly 200 clinicians in multiple locations and an even broader array of NSMC physicians and specialists in many disciplines throughout the North Shore.
NSMC intends to maintain emergency services on the Salem and Union campuses. The level of emergency care at each site will be based on the needs of the community and patient safety priorities. The plan is expected to take three years to implement during which time Union Hospital will remain open as a full-service, acute care hospital.
Where will patients currently treated at Union be treated in the future?
NSMC has taken great care to ensure that the health care needs of Lynn residents will continue to be met after Union Hospital consolidates with Salem. Where patients receive care will depend on the nature of their health needs.
On the Union Hospital campus, the NSPG primary and multi-specialty practice will remain to meet many of the day-to-day needs of the community, including urgent care. We continue to work with state and city leaders to determine the best model for meeting the long-term emergency and urgent care needs of Lynn residents, and will share more details of this plan in the months ahead. Meanwhile, the ED at Union will remain open.
Patients who need hospital-based or complex emergency care will be cared for at Salem Hospital. We are making a significant investment there in a new state-of-the-art Emergency Department and additional inpatient unit with private rooms to accommodate our Union Hospital patients. We are also converting the former Spaulding North Shore to a Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health, expanding to 90 beds for adult, senior and pediatric mental health. This facility will be operated in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital.
Additionally, we are building on years of collaboration with our local community health centers and community organizations to support them in increasing access to a robust spectrum of community-based care.
What is the long-term impact on NSMC, its financial stability and scope of services?
Consolidation of NSMC’s medical, surgical and behavioral health care will not only save annual operational expenses, but more importantly, will improve care, enhance physician coverage, and support increased specialization by care teams.
As the region’s only safety net hospital, NSMC has been challenged by chronic underfunding from state programs that totaled $30M in 2015. This reimbursement rate barely covers 60 per cent of the actual costs to provide care. While we expect to reduce our overhead by approximately $15M per year we expect state underfunding to continue.
How do these changes affect jobs?
NSMC expects to remain a significant employer of local residents, including those from Lynn and Salem. While some locations and specific positions will change, we will continue to care for all of our patients and will need the staff to provide that care.
Furthermore, construction and renovations associated with this plan is expected to generate approximately 2,500 construction jobs.
These changes will take three to four years to implement, so we will be working with our employees to transition any positions affected through turnover, retirement and reassignment within NSMC, NSPG or Partners. We will work with each and every affected employee to help with the transition, and do not expect the number of staff impacted to exceed our normal rate of annual turnover.