H. Richard Nesson and J. Robert Buchanan

H. Richard Nesson, then-president of Brigham and Women's Hospital, and J. Robert Buchanan, then-general director of Massachusetts General Hospital, shake hands to mark the founding of Partners HealthCare.

On March 18, 1994, Partners HealthCare was born, the realization of an agreement between Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The vision of those hospitals’ leaders was to build an integrated health care system that would excel in patient care, teaching, research and community service. At a December 8, 1993, press conference announcing the plan, then-BWH President Richard Nesson, MD, said the merger is about “how we can better serve the community and serve our mission.”

Since then the system has expanded and now includes more than a dozen acute, non-acute and specialty hospitals, community physicians, partnerships with dozens of community health centers, and a managed care organization offering affordable care to the underserved.

Over two decades, the members of the Partners HealthCare system have achieved some notable milestones. For example:

  • In the 20 years since Partners was formed, three Nobel laureates have been named who either trained or practiced at a Partners hospital.
  • Partners is one of the first health care systems in the U.S. to bridge genetic research and clinical care by offering whole genome sequencing, analysis and interpretation for patients anywhere.
  • Partners has responded to the challenge of an increasing need for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment by adding services and improving access to mental health care throughout eastern Massachusetts.
  • Partners' commitment to the continuum of care is showcased through the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, which opened days after the Boston Marathon bombings in the spring of 2013.

Looking ahead to the future, we have also undertaken a number of broad, multi-year initiatives that leverage the resources of our system to support our vision. Among them are:

  • pledging to find $300 million in operational efficiencies and cost savings across the organization to support patient affordability
  • participating as an “accountable care organization” to improve care and reduce costs for the most complex patients through better coordination and new ways of delivering care
  • affiliating with Neighborhood Health Plan to improve access to and affordability of community-based care, particularly for underserved patients
  • investing in a single electronic health record – Partners eCare – that will ensure that providers have all the information they need to deliver the very best patient care

To mark this milestone, Partners President and CEO Gary Gottlieb, MD, said:

After 20 years, our vision is as clear and focused as ever. Our commitment to our mission, our patients and the communities we serve is paramount. We embrace our role as a leader in delivering the highest-quality care that is affordable and accessible for those we serve – today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

Topics: Community Partnerships, Partners Corporate

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