Tags: coordinated care , uniform high quality

At Partners HealthCare, we’re committed to providing better care, close to home for all of the communities we serve. That’s why we’re announcing a plan to improve care and coordination with North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) by serving the needs of the region more efficiently and significantly improving access to behavioral health and addiction services.

Our plan realigns the practices and facilities at NSMC’s campuses in Salem and Lynn to make high-quality care more effective and efficient, while increasing the availability of those services that North Shore residents use most. It will also save $18 million a year in health care costs.

First, we’ll consolidate all of NSMC’s hospital-based medical, surgical and behavioral health services on one campus at NSMC’s Salem Hospital. All inpatient services at Union Hospital in Lynn will move to Salem Hospital over the course of the next three years. NSMC will expand and enhance the services provided in Salem, including building a new Emergency Department and two additional family-centered inpatient units.

Nearby on the campus of Salem Hospital, the former Spaulding Hospital North Shore will be converted to a Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health with direct ties to Massachusetts General Hospital. With over 100 beds, the facility will add 40 to 50 new beds to the region for psychiatric and behavioral health services for children, adolescents, adults and seniors – a welcome addition to those who have been championing greater support for mental health services, such as the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH).

“People in psychiatric crisis deserve quick access to quality psychiatric care and not to be languishing in ERs,” Bernard J. Carey, Jr., president of MAMH, told The Boston Globe.

With the rate of opioid-related deaths rising dramatically in Massachusetts – 33 percent higher in 2014 than two years before – there is a clear need for substance abuse treatment, in particular. The Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health will integrate addiction treatment with inpatient and outpatient psychiatry, behavioral health services and community-based programs.

As Union Hospital closes its inpatient services over the next three years, the North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG) practice – currently headquartered there – will expand its presence in Lynn. NSPG will work closely with the Lynn Community Health Center and North Shore Community Health Center to provide increased outpatient primary, specialty and behavioral health services. The Emergency Department at Union Hospital will continue to operate during the transition as an expanded department is being built in Salem.

Over the next several years we will work closely with the cities involved to ensure that this plan is implemented and meets the community’s needs. Our goal is to provide the highest-quality care efficiently and close to home.