Tufts unveils plans for patients, physicians amid children's hospital closure

Boston-based Tufts Medicine has revealed some of its plans for its physicians and patients, many of whom are on Medicaid, following the announcement of its intention to close its 41-bed children's hospital and convert it to an adult intensive care unit, The Boston Globe reported May 8.

With the closure, children in need of inpatient care will be referred to Boston Children's, which will open 50 additional beds in July.

Ten things to know:

1. Tufts pledged to keep its rheumatology clinic open, which many worried would close, according to the Globe.

2. Outpatient pediatric care will stay at Tufts, including pediatric primary care, day surgeries and the pediatric emergency room, and the newborn intensive care unit.

3. A foundation will be created for Tufts physicians. They will have privileges at Boston Children's, and Tufts would lease back and pay for the physicians, according to the Globe. They will be professors and faculty of Tufts University School of Medicine. About three quarters of its 140 physicians have chosen to join the foundation, according to the report.

4. Non-surgical specialists will mostly refer inpatient care to Boston Children's physicians. Plans for surgeons are still being decided.

5. The hospital will end pediatric inpatient chemotherapy, while other clinics are being decided on a case-by-case basis, according to the report. Tufts told the Globe it expects to keep most specialty outpatient services.

6. Boston Children's CEO Kevin Churchwell told the Globe there will be ambulances between hospitals, as well as a portal for clinicians to share medical records.

7. When a patient is cared for in its clinics, the patient will pay the rates Tufts negotiated with their payer, even if they're treated by a physician in the Boston Children's foundation. Patients cared for at Boston Children's will pay Boston Children's rates, however.

8. Previously, five health insurance products that were accepted at Tufts were not accepted at Boston Children's, but now Boston Children's is accepting the largest one, a Medicaid Fallon/Tufts Medicine plan that covers 26,000 children at Tufts.

9. All 95 nurses affected by the closure have found jobs at Tufts or another organization, Tufts told the Globe.

10. Tufts still needs approval from the Department of Public Health for the closure, and it will file plans with the Health Policy Commission, the state's healthcare watchdog group.

Read more here.

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