Martha's Vineyard Hospital and Nantucket
Cottage Hospital Explore Possible Affiliation with Massachusetts
General Hospital and Partners HealthCare
BOSTON, MARTHA'S VINEYARD and NANTUCKET, MASS. - October 19,
2006 - The boards of trustees of Nantucket
Cottage Hospital (NCH), Martha's
Vineyard Hospital (MVH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
are scheduled to vote this week on agreements that may pave the
way for the two island hospitals to become affiliates of The Massachusetts
General Hospital and Partners
HealthCare System. The proposed affiliations are aimed at strengthening
and expanding clinical relationships among the three hospitals as
well as ensuring the financial security of the island hospitals
so they can serve the health care needs of the Nantucket and Martha's
Vineyard communities in the years to come.
These agreements - called memoranda of understanding - set forth
the preliminary terms of the proposed affiliations and initiate
a series of fact-finding activities to be undertaken by all parties
during the next few months. This process may lead to the signing
of definitive affiliation agreements by year's end. For the proposed
affiliations to become final, they must be approved by the Massachusetts
Department of Public Health.
Under these affiliations, patients of MVH and NCH would continue
to receive high-quality care from the providers they know and trust
at the hospitals they have long relied upon. Both island hospitals
would remain separate entities with their own governing boards,
identities, names, cultures and styles. The most significant benefits
of the proposed affiliations would be for patients with complex
medical needs who require tertiary care or specialty services unavailable
on the islands. These patients would have a direct link to caregivers
and services at the MGH, offering better coordination of care and
services through such means as a shared electronic medical record
and an expanded pool of consulting sub-specialists. In addition,
the MGH would work closely with the hospitals to identify opportunities
to enhance the services available on the islands.
"Ensuring the very best health care for our patients and our
community is at the heart of what we do every day, and it has been
the central focus of these discussions," says Lucille Giddings,
RN, president and CEO of NCH. "We believe that MGH and Partners
HealthCare share a vision of a vibrant community-based health system,
and they are committed to working with us to set - indeed, raise
- the bar on what community health care can and should be."
Timothy Walsh, CEO of MVH, says a closer relationship with the
MGH would support Martha's Vineyard Hospital's mission of safeguarding
the health of the island's residents and visitors. "This affiliation
represents a golden opportunity to ensure that Martha's Vineyard
Hospital not only survives, but thrives as a community health resource.
Our patients and our staff will benefit from being part of a robust
system that provides a full spectrum of outstanding health care.
What better way to meet our mission than to unite with one of the
nation's best hospitals."
Both island hospitals have long-standing clinical collaborations
with the MGH in such specialties as cardiology, radiology, neurology,
dermatology and emergency services. And both NCH and MVH are connected
to the MGH through telemedicine links. Also, some MGH physicians
maintain privileges at the island hospitals and see patients there.
In addition to the clinical benefits, under the terms of the proposed
affiliations, the MGH and Partners would agree to contribute $5
million to each island hospital to help it address its specific
capital needs. For Martha's Vineyard Hospital these funds will help
the institution reach its campaign goal to build a new hospital.
Also, the proposed affiliations with the MGH and Partners could
facilitate a change in Medicare designation for one or both of the
island hospitals. This change could ultimately benefit hospitals
throughout Massachusetts, including the Partners hospitals, as well
as certain other island health care providers.
David F. Torchiana, MD, chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts General
Physicians Organization, says that patients, not finances, have
been central to the discussions with physicians at MVH and NCH.
"The doctors who practice in these communities share a very
special bond with their patients, and we must make sure that this
vital doctor-patient relationship is protected and preserved,"
he says. "The proposed affiliations are not meant to be disruptive
of pre-existing clinical relationships or referral patterns. Rather
we want to work closely with the hospitals to identify gaps in care
and determine how the MGH can help fill in those gaps as well as
reinforce or add services that will be helpful to the island communities."
Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of the Massachusetts General Hospital,
says that including these two very distinctive and trusted community
hospitals in the MGH and Partners family would strengthen and augment
the system. "Martha's Vineyard Hospital and Nantucket Cottage
Hospital are much-cherished health care resources for their individual
communities," Slavin says. "Partners has remained strong
as a system because it recognizes that hospitals need to be different
and distinct and have the kind of autonomy and flexibility necessary
to preserve the special relationship with their communities. We
look forward to the opportunity to work closely with the island
hospitals to build upon our ongoing relationships to enhance care.
It clearly is in all of our best interests to make sure that the
highest quality health care - from preventive services to tertiary
care - continues to be easily accessible and available to patients
and families who live on or visit these truly special island communities."
About Martha's Vineyard Hospital
Martha's Vineyard Hospital is a 25-bed not-for-profit critical access
hospital founded in 1921. The mission of the hospital is to safeguard
the health of Martha's Vineyard residents by providing or arranging
for the provision of high-quality, accessible medical care. The
hospital admits nearly 1,100 patients a year and records approximately
35,000 outpatient visits and 15,000 visits to its Emergency Department.
The hospital also runs Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.
About Nantucket Cottage Hospital
Nantucket Cottage Hospital is a not-for-profit critical access hospital
that serves an island community 30 miles from the mainland. Founded
in 1911, the 19-bed hospital maintains a deep tradition of providing
high-quality care to a population of 10,000 full-time residents
that increases to more than 50,000 in the summer months. The hospital
admits more than 600 patients a year, and records nearly 50,000
outpatient visits and more than 11,000 emergency visits.
About Massachusetts General Hospital
Founded in 1811, the MGH is the third oldest general hospital
in the United States and the oldest and largest in New England.
The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic
care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and
surgery. Each year the MGH admits more than 46,000 inpatients and
handles nearly 1.5 million outpatient visits at its main campus
and health centers. Its Emergency Department records nearly 80,000
visits annually. The surgical staff performs more than 35,000 operations
and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers more than 3,500
babies each year. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research
program in the country, with an annual research budget of approximately
$500 million. It is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of
Harvard Medical School, where nearly all MGH staff physicians serve
on the faculty. The MGH is consistently ranked among the nation's
top few hospitals by US News and World Report.
About Partners HealthCare System
Partners HealthCare was founded in 1994 by Massachusetts General
Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Partners is an integrated
health care system that offers patients a continuum of coordinated
high-quality care. The system includes the two founding academic
medical centers, community hospitals, specialty facilities, community
health centers, primary care and specialty physicians and other
health-related entities. Partners HealthCare is a nonprofit organization.
Media Contacts: Peggy
Slasman, MGH Public Affairs
Petra Langer, Partners
Chuck Gifford, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, (508) 825-8246
Rachel Vanderhoop, Martha's Vineyard Hospital, (508) 693-4645
Physician Referral Service: 1-800-388-4644
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