Partners to consolidate closing Union Hospital inpatient services with expanding Salem Hospital

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The Massachusetts Public Health Council has given the green light to a major expansion of Salem (Mass.) Hospital and the closing of Union Hospital in Lynn, Mass., The Salem News reports. Both hospitals are part of Boston-based Partners HealthCare's North Shore Medical Center.

In June 2015, Partners HealthCare announced it would close Union Hospital to consolidate services in the North Shore region. As part of the restructuring, inpatient services at the Union Hospital campus will eventually be consolidated at Salem Hospital.

On Wednesday, the council approved plans for a $230 million expansion of Salem Hospital's campus that includes a new three-story building with an emergency department, renovating the former Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital into a 120-bed mental health center, and a new main entrance and lobby, according to the report.

The project will be done in phases, with construction in the first phase expected to start this fall.

The closing of Union Hospital and consolidation into Salem Hospital drew criticism from the public health council, which said the motion to close the hospital does not take into account "the substantial impact…on access to services by Lynn residents," according to the report.

Therefore, the expansion comes with stipulations. NSMC must evaluate the impact on Lynn residents and develop a plan for meeting the needs of underserved populations in its service area, the report states. The council is also requiring NSMC to improve the "cultural, ethnic and gender diversity" of its board of trustees.

The Salem Hospital expansion project must still be approved by the Salem city boards.


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