NSMC News Releases

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Our Commitment to Caring for Kids
6/22/2017
By David J. Roberts, M.D., President of NSMC, and Brian P. Sanders, M.D., NSMC Chair of Pediatrics

Recently North Shore Medical Center announced that one part of our pediatric service -- our inpatient pediatric unit -- would close this month, and understandably, many families are concerned. We write today to explain why we made that decision and how it will affect local families and to share the many pediatric services that continue here on the North Shore.

Demand for inpatient care declining

At NSMC and across the country, demand for pediatric inpatient admission has been falling steadily over the past decade as immunization, antibiotics and other advances have improved child health and kept kids out of the hospital. In just the last three years, our pediatric inpatient admission rate has dropped more than 40% to a point where we average only a few inpatients per day on the 24-bed unit.

In fact, most children on our inpatient unit today are placed under ‘outpatient observation’ status – a term used in healthcare for patients who do not need complex medical care but need a little more time at the hospital before we can send them home.

With our transition, we will continue to care for these ‘outpatient observation’ patients right here at NSMC, through our pediatric emergency department, which we are expanding to accommodate the changes. This area is dedicated entirely to pediatric patients, with a family friendly atmosphere and a talented team of pediatric physicians, nurses and staff who make every effort to ensure that children and families remain comfortable and well cared for during their stay.

The transition we are making affects mainly the small number of children who come to NSMC and need more intensive or acute ‘inpatient’ care. Going forward, these children will be transferred to facilities better equipped to care for them, including Mass General Hospital for Children, with whom we collaborate regularly to care for children in this community. To ensure that transfers go smoothly, we will work closely with families to meet their needs.

Extensive pediatric care remains

Aside from these transfers, NSMC will continue to care for children as we do today, providing advanced pediatric emergency care and access to a wide range of pediatric specialists and primary care services right here on the North Shore.

In addition to our own experts, we partner with Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Spaulding Rehabilitation Network to bring pediatric specialists to the North Shore where they can provide local kids with an exceptional network of expertise, close to home and family. Our NSMC Birthplace and Special Care Nursery continue provide newborn care to our smallest patients.

Families on the North Shore turn to us at some of their most vulnerable times and we take that responsibility very seriously. As we have cared for children in this community for over 100 years, we will continue this important work for many more years to come.

David J. Roberts, M.D.

Brian P. Sanders, M.D.

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

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