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NSMC lays out vision for healthier communities. Salem Hospital to expand; Union Hospital to become Centers of Excellence in Primary Care and Behavioral Health

North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) and Partners HealthCare announced today 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 includes North Shore Medical Center which includes Salem Hospital and Lynn’s Union Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital as well as 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:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Expanding primary, specialty, urgent care and behavioral health services throughout the North Shore at North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) offices, and in Lynn, Salem, and Peabody in collaboration with the Lynn Community Health Center and North Shore Community Health Center.

NSMC also 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.

According to Robert G. Norton, NSMC president and CEO, “We are confident that this plan succeeds in delivering 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.”

Support for the plan was echoed by NSMC’s trustees. “We live and work in this community and are committed to ensuring that NSMC delivers care of the highest value to our local community,” said Richard Holbrook, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank and Chairman of the NSMC Board of Trustees. “We are investing more than $200 million in Lynn, Salem and our communities because we believe this is the best plan for the future of the North Shore.”

Changes based on need

To guide this strategy, NSMC recently 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.

Improvements at NSMC Salem Hospital

To accommodate the consolidation of medical and surgical services, NSMC and Partners are building a new 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.

“Consolidating services will enhance quality of care and improve the patient experience,” says Mitchell S. Rein, M.D., NSMC Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, “With a single hospital, we can provide deeper specialization, better coordination of care and enhanced safety.”

Robust primary, specialty and urgent care to remain 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 on the Union campus and throughout the North Shore. In Lynn, the Center of Excellence will include primary, specialty and urgent care and associated outpatient services such as lab and infusion as well as support programs such as nutrition counseling and diabetes management. This practice will serve a wide range of health care needs of local residents.

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 the North Shore Community Health Center to increase access to a spectrum of care. In addition to providing support for vulnerable populations, NSMC will be collaborating 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.

“The synergies created by bringing together the best of academic and community care will help meet the region’s needs at a time when the state is losing scarce behavioral health capacity and these critical services are in great demand,” says Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, M.D., chief of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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,” says Norton. “Furthermore, by caring for patients within a coordinated system, we can monitor the quality of their care more effectively and avoid repetitive procedures, such as tests and imaging that can happen when a patient sees a disconnected number of providers.”

A regional plan, coordinated system

The affiliation between Partners HealthCare and Hallmark Health also includes investment in Hallmark’s Melrose-Wakefield campus and transforming Lawrence Memorial Hospital to a short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility operated by Mass General. Furthermore it presents new possibilities for improving health care for residents north of Boston.

“The goal is to deliver the right care in the right place for our patients,” says Gary Gottlieb, M.D., President and CEO of Partners Healthcare System. “This plan solidifies our commitment to population health management and team-based care as well as the world-class specialty care we provide.”

Mission remains unchanged

“Our mission to provide the finest care to the patients of greater Lynn, Salem and throughout the North Shore will never change,” says Norton.

“We truly believe that this consolidation coupled with the investments in primary, urgent, and specialty care, behavioral health services, care coordination and community health resources is in the best long-term interests of the communities we serve. In short, we will offer increased access, better care, and lower costs.”


NSMC (North Shore Medical Center) is a multi-site health system headquartered in Salem, Mass., which includes NSMC Salem Hospital, NSMC Union Hospital in Lynn, MassGeneral for Children at North Shore Medical Center, NSMC Heart Center, NSMC Women’s Center and the physician network known as North Shore Physicians Group. NSMC and Massachusetts General Hospital together provide care at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center in Danvers. NSMC is a member of Partners HealthCare, which was founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  #northshoremed

Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals, a managed care organization, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities. Partners Healthcare is one of the nation's leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization. For more information, please visit http://www.partners.org/.

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