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Partners, Hallmark Health Sign Affiliation Deal

Partners HealthCare in Boston and Hallmark Health System in Melrose, Mass., have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a new regional affiliation centered around coordinated care and population health.

The potential deal involves four Massachusetts hospitals: Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose, both of which are part of Hallmark, as well as Union Hospital in Lynn and Salem Hospital, both of which are part of Partners' North Shore Medical Center.

Lawrence Memorial would be converted into a short-stay inpatient and ambulatory facility, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston would operate it. Partners said Lawrence Memorial patients will likely only stay in a hospital for three days or less, and the hospital will mostly focus on outpatient services like orthopedics and gastroenterology. Lawrence Memorial's emergency department will stay open for at least two years, but Partners did not say whether it would the ED would stay open beyond that timeframe.

Melrose-Wakefield Hospital would remain a full-service acute-care hospital. Partners and Hallmark would invest heavily in renovations and primary care physician recruitment.

Within North Shore Medical Center, Salem Hospital would assume most hospital-based medical and surgical services. Union Hospital would host centers of excellence in primary care and behavioral health, partially operated by Massachusetts General.

Financial terms of the affiliation were not disclosed. Partners said most investments would be put into health information technology, primary care physician recruitment and capital improvements at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Salem Hospital. The systems also said they decided to create a new alliance "to better coordinate care through population health management initiatives" and to care for patients in the right setting.

"This new partnership with Hallmark Health will bring a more thoughtful approach to healthcare to the entire region," said Gary Gottlieb, MD, president and CEO of Partners, in a news release. "By investing in primary care and doing a better job of coordinating that care, we can keep patients healthier and out of the hospital — ultimately reducing costs in our healthcare system."

More Articles on Hospital Transactions:
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HMA Sells Lone Hospital in West Virginia

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