Partners HealthCare considers closing cardiac surgery program at Salem Hospital

As part of an effort to curb costs, Salem, Mass.-based North Shore Medical Center, part of Boston-based Partners HealthCare, has proposed closing and consolidating Salem Hospital's cardiac surgery program with Massachusetts General Hospital's in Boston, according to The Salem News.

In a memo to physicians, employees and volunteers, NSMC President Robert Norton cited a 40 percent decline in demand for heart surgery in New England and across the U.S. in recent years. As SalemHospital cares for "the region's most vulnerable patients," Mr. Norton also pointed to mounting financial pressure as a reason for the proposed consolidation.

"Recently those discussions have focused on cardiac surgery at NSMC and whether there is an opportunity for a different model of care," Mr. Norton said in his memo, according to the report. "Today, improvements in angioplasty, cardiac care and prevention efforts have been so successful that the demand for cardiac surgery both in New England and across the nation has declined by approximately 40 percent in recent years. While good for patients, this trend has also impacted our surgical program where demand for cardiac surgery continues to decline."

However, Mr. Norton said the percutaneous coronary intervention/angioplasty and general cardiology programs will remain as is, despite the possible consolidation.

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