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Posts Tagged ‘lowell general hospital’

Last week my team had a photoshoot in Lowell, Massachusetts. The subjects were moms whose children have been treated at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center and through a pediatric affiliation between Lowell General Hospital and Floating Hospital. The families who participated in the shoot were all wonderful to work with. They are remarkable people and I am fortunate to have met them. I truly have an incredible job!

It was a busy shoot, with three locations and weather that ranged from dark and cold in the morning to hot and sunny in the afternoon. We shot is a public park, in the Greater Lowell YMCA, and at Meadowlands, a local ice cream stand. Here are a few behind the scenes photos I took with my iPhone.

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Melinda Lucas, the editor of Marketing Healthcare Today magazine, has been very good to my firm over the years. Many of our campaigns have been featured in the pages of her magazine. In the latest issue, Melinda showcases our work promoting the pediatric affiliation between Lowell General Hospital and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center; we call it the Merrimack Valley Moms campaign. The goal of the campaign was to capture the attention of busy suburban moms in the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts. To do that, we use a multi-integrated campaign was anchored by the MV Moms Blog. The campaign is supported by traditional advertising, the sponsorship of a children’s play area at a local mall, social media and digital marketing. Below are a couple of screen shots of the feature from Marketing Healthcare Today.

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On October 7, 2011, I wrote a post titled “Sometimes the Good Guys Prevail and the Community Wins.” In writing the post, I was celebrating the announcement that Lowell General Hospital (my client) and Saints Medical Center, essentially cross-town rivals, had signed a memorandum of understanding that would eventually lead to an affiliation of the two hospitals. Until that point in time, it had looked like Saints was going to affiliate with Steward Health Care. Owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP, Steward has been gobbling up hospitals and physician groups across Massachusetts at an alarming rate and have become a force to be reckoned with. Today they are the largest fully integrated community care organization and community hospital network in New England.

I’m not a fan of Steward and had hoped that Saints and Lowell General might come up with a solution that would keep control of Saints in Lowell. A merger between Lowell General Hospital and Saints Medical Center would mean that they could work together to coordinate care and avoid duplication of services and technology, making healthcare delivery in the region more efficient while serving the needs of the community. The same would not have been true if Steward had come to town.

So I am celebrating once again! Late last week, the boards of each hospital approved a merger agreement between the two hospitals. For people living in Lowell and the Merrimack Valley Region of Massachusetts, this should come as welcome news. Their interests will be well represented by this new two campus heathcare entity. The deal will not be done until it receives final approval by the Vatican and the state Department of Public Health.

Below I have embedded the body of the press release announcing the decision of the two boards. Enjoy!

Lowell General Hospital & Saints Medical Center Joint Press Release

March 1, 2012 – Lowell, MA – Lowell General Hospital and Saints Medical Center today announced that their boards have approved a definitive agreement that will lead to the merger of the two hospitals.

As a result of the agreement, the two hospitals will combine to form one entity, which will be governed by one board of trustees. The new board will be drawn equally from the current Lowell General and Saints boards. Current Lowell General President and CEO, Norm Deschene, will serve as president and CEO of the new merged hospital.

There will continue to be two hospital campuses which will operate under one license.

“Combining the strengths of Saints and Lowell General will create one of the very best community health care systems,” said Norm Deschene, President and CEO of Lowell General. “The merger will greatly benefit our patients, by creating a strong unified health care system, able to provide greater breadth and depth of services and more complex and specialized care here in the community.”

Victor Poirier, Chairman of the Saints Board of Trustees, said, “The combination of these two high-quality hospitals will serve the healthcare needs of the Greater Lowell community for generations to come. We look forward to finalizing the merger as soon as possible.”

“The merger of these two organizations will create an even stronger hospital, one that is well positioned to compete in a very challenging health care environment by being able to deliver more coordinated care at lower cost,” said Margaret Palm, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Lowell General Hospital.

The merger will allow the hospital to utilize its resources in the most effective and efficient way, by eliminating duplication of services and redundant capital spending on new technology and equipment. The combination of Saints and Lowell General will improve the coordination and quality of care, through the adoption of a single electronic medical records system and by enhancing coordination of care within the hospital and with community physicians.

“This merger will create a financially strong institution that is able to invest in new clinical programs and technology, recruit top medical specialists and further advance the quality of health care in the community,” said Stephen J. Guimond, Saints President and CEO.

“We are particularly pleased that the new board will have equal representation and that a two-campus system will be maintained.”

As part of the agreement, Lowell General has negotiated a Stewardship Agreement with the Archdiocese of Boston that preserves the Catholic identity of the Saints campus.

The agreement now requires the approval of Church authorities at the Vatican and the state Department of Public Health.

About Lowell General Hospital

Lowell General Hospital is an independent, not-for-profit, community hospital serving the Greater Lowell area and surrounding communities. The hospital encompasses ten buildings, the latest state-of-the-art technology and a full range of medical and surgical services for patients, from newborns to seniors, including: the Regional Center for Maternal and Pediatric Care in partnership with Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, the Cancer Center, and the Heart and Vascular Center.

The main hospital campus offers 217 licensed beds, including 28 bassinets and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. The hospital’s satellite campus, Lowell General Chelmsford, offers a variety of outpatient services, including the Surgery Center, the Imaging Center, the Patient Service Center, the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery and Floating Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Specialty Center.

Lowell General Hospital’s family of services includes two health organizations which serve the community’s health care needs in capacities outside of the hospital, the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Lowell, which providescomprehensive home health care services and the Lowell Community Health Center, which meets the diverse medical, cultural and multi-lingual needs of the city’s population.

Lowell General Hospital is a member of the Voluntary Hospitals of America. Hospital programs are accredited by the Joint Commission of Hospitals, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the American College of Surgeons, and the College of American Pathology.

About Saints Medical Center

Saints Medical Centeris a not-for-profit, full service, acute care community hospital serving Greater Lowell and the Merrimack Valley since 1839. A 157-bed licensed medical center, Saints provides advanced health services to 315,000 residents in 25 towns. With nearly 400 physicians and 1,300 employees, Saints Medical Center is well known for outstanding medical care and patient-centered facilities including its Centers of Excellence in Cancer Care, Orthopedics, Cardiovascular Services and Women’s Health. Saints also offers community-based care at several ambulatory sites and is dedicated to promoting health and wellness in the community. Saints has clinical affiliations with several leading Boston academic medical centers and is fully accredited by The Joint Commission. Further information is available at www.saintsmedicalcenter.com.

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In the past I’ve written about Lowell General Hospital, which I consider to be among the finest community hospitals in America. They are my client and I’m admittedly biased, but read my prior blog post and see what you think. The post is titled “The Über Community Hospital.”

Several months ago I was disappointed to read that Lowell General’s efforts to secure an affiliation with Saints Medical Center (the cross town rival) had fallen through and Saints was to be purchased by Steward Health Care. If you are not familiar with Steward, they are the for-profit parent company of Caritas Christi Health Care that recently acquired Morton Hospital and Quincy Hospital. They even have plans to launch their own insurance plan that requires consumers to use it’s facilities for nearly all routine health-care needs. Owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP, they have been gobbling up hospitals across Massachusetts at an alarming rate and are now a force to be reckoned with. Today they are the largest fully integrated community care organization and community hospital network in New England. Hospitals in the system include Saint Anne’s in Fall River, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Norwood Hospital, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, and Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill. Other Steward Health Care entities include Steward Physician Network, Caritas Hospice and Home Care, Laboure College, and Por Cristo.

I had been hopeful that Lowell General and Saints could work out an agreement that would keep control of Saints Medical Center at home, in Lowell. I could envision the two organizations working collaboratively and playing upon each other’s strengths to better serve the needs of the community. But it seemed like it was not to be. Then to my surprise, yesterday afternoon I was notified by my contact at Lowell that Lowell General Hospital and Saints Medical Center had signed off on a memorandum of understanding that would lead to an eventual affiliation between the two hospitals! Lowell General and Saints Medical Center expect a final agreement to be done by the first of the year. My prayers had been answered and the Steward deal had fallen through. Steward can go find some other prey.

This agreement should lead to coordinated care in Lowell, rather than unproductive competition for patients. It should, in some cases, help to eliminate unnecessary duplication of services. And it keeps the interest of the community in the foreground. This is good news for both of the hospitals and the community they serve. I could not be happier! Sometimes the good guys really do prevail.

And the timing is perfect. In the summer of 2012 Lowell General will be opening its new $95 million, six-story patient tower, adding more than 175,000 square feet of new space and featuring increased surgical services suites, a new trauma center and emergency department, a new outpatient services area, greatly improved access for patients and visitors, three floors of private patient rooms, and a helipad. With the launch of this new facility, and a new medical office building in Chelmsford, patients and families will receive care in healing environments designed with them in mind. The care environment will now match and in many ways enhance the quality of care that is deliver. This is wonderful news for the community.

Here’s the text of the announcement that went out yesterday afternoon from the two hospitals:

Lowell General Hospital and Saints Medical Center Announce Affiliation

(Lowell, MA) Lowell General Hospital and Saints Medical Center today announced that they have agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the goal of having the two hospitals affiliate with each other.

Victor Poirier, chairman, Saints Board of Trustees, said, “We believe that an affiliation with Lowell General Hospital will serve the needs of this institution and the Greater Lowell community now and in the future. By joining with Lowell General, Saints will be able to thrive and succeed for the long-term.”

The two organizations emphasized that an affiliation will promote the delivery of high quality health care in the community at lower cost, by allowing the hospitals to utilize their resources in the most effective and efficient way, eliminating duplication of services and redundant capital spending on new technology and equipment and improving their ability to deliver more integrated and coordinated care. The combination of Saints and Lowell General will lead to improved coordination of care, both within the hospitals and between the hospitals and community physicians, the hospitals said.

“Combining our strengths will enhance our ability to recruit and retain the best doctors and nurses, expand our capacity to deliver highly specialized care, and coordinate our community outreach efforts to improve the health and wellness of the community,” said Norm Deschene, President and CEO of Lowell General.

“It ensures continued local control of these two vital institutions and strengthening our missions of expanding access to healthcare, especially to those most in need in the community,” said Margaret Palm, Chair of the Board of Lowell General Hospital.

“An affiliation with Lowell General meets the need of Saints for a strong financial partner and one that also respects the mission of the hospital,” said Stephen J. Guimond, Saints President and CEO, “Under the memorandum of understanding the hospitals are committed to maintaining two hospital campuses, which would then be under the direction of a new corporation and board of directors, comprised of equal representation from the current Lowell General and Saints boards.”

With this announcement the two hospitals will now enter a period in which they will exchange confidential information and negotiate issues related to their integration.

“We are absolutely convinced that these discussions will lead to a new local health care system that will be second-to-none,” said Deschene.

About Lowell General Hospital

Lowell General Hospital is an independent, not-for-profit, community hospital serving the Greater Lowell area and surrounding communities. The hospital encompasses ten buildings, the latest state-of-the-art technology and a full range of medical and surgical services for patients, from newborns to seniors, including: the Regional Center for Maternal and Pediatric Care in partnership with Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, the Cancer Center, and the Heart and Vascular Center.

The main hospital campus offers 217 licensed beds, including 28 bassinets and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. The hospital’s satellite campus, Lowell General Chelmsford, offers a variety of outpatient services, including the Surgery Center, the Imaging Center, the Patient Service Center, the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery and Floating Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Specialty Center.

Lowell General Hospital’s family of services includes two health organizations which serve the community’s health care needs in capacities outside of the hospital, the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Lowell, which provides comprehensive home health care services and the Lowell Community Health Center, which meets the diverse medical, cultural and multi-lingual needs of the city’s population.

Lowell General Hospital is a member of the Voluntary Hospitals of America. Hospital programs are accredited by the Joint Commission of Hospitals, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the American College of Surgeons, and the College of American Pathology.

About Saints Medical Center

Saints Medical Center is a not-for-profit, full service, acute care community hospital serving Greater Lowell and the Merrimack Valley since 1839. A 157-bed licensed medical center, Saints provides advanced health services to 315,000 residents in 25 towns. With nearly 400 physicians and 1,300 employees, Saints Medical Center is well known for outstanding medical care and patient-centered facilities including its Centers of Excellence in Cancer Care, Orthopedics, Cardiovascular Services and Women’s Health. Saints also offers community-based care at several ambulatory sites and is dedicated to promoting health and wellness in the community. Saints has clinical affiliations with several leading Boston academic medical centers and is fully accredited by The Joint Commission. Further information is available at http://www.saintsmedicalcenter.com.

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Check out this fun video from my clients at Lowell General Hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts. The video promotes their TeamWalk for CancerCare annual fundraiser. A great cause (more promotional details below the video). Enjoy!

Ignite Hope, Inspire Courage, join Lowell General Hospital’s TeamWalk for CancerCare, Sunday, May 15, 2011 at the Tsongas Center at UMASS Lowell. For more information or to register, visit http://www.lowellgeneral.org/teamwalk or call 978-937-6434. TeamWalk is unique because all proceeds stay in our community to help cancer patients with the fundamentals they need most. Since it began in 2000, TeamWalk has raised more than 4.2 million dollars and has helped more than 12,000 people at the Cancer Center at Lowell General and beyond. TeamWalk provides transportation to and from treatment, prescription medication not covered by insurance, living expenses, wigs, prosthetics, medical supplies, and the region’s most extensive array of support groups open to cancer patients and their families. Whether you walk, volunteer, or sponsor, you can truly make a difference when you join Lowell General Hospital’s TeamWalk for Cancercare. Produced by Flag Day Productions – http://www.flagdayproductions.com , Thomson Communications – http://www.thomsoncommunications.com and Lowell General Hospital – http://www.lowellgeneral.org

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It’s February, it’s cold and residents in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts are about to go… swimming?  Yes, you heard right.  Once a year, Lowell General Hospital Cancer Center hosts a polar plunge at Long Lake. All proceeds go to Lowell General Hospital’s TeamWalk for CancerCare. Talk about an extreme fundraiser! The ice-cold swim is especially significant for Maureen Polson, whose father passed away from cancer last year.  She says the swim is “a good way to honor her father and to move forward in her own life.”  Maureen has also participated in other “extreme” fundraisers, including skydiving to support a children’s charity.

Events such as the polar plunge are great ways for patients, friends and family to take an active role in supporting the battle against cancer.  There’s nothing better than giving back to the community while having fun in an icy New England lake in February!

You can read more about the polar plunge on Wicked Local: http://www.wickedlocal.com/chelmsford/news/x1290226752/Resident-participates-in-polar-plunge#axzz1F08K4Gxh.

Post by Dan Dunlop with Stephanie Cohen, UNC-Chapel Hill Student and Jennings Intern

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One of my firm’s clients, Lowell General Hospital (LGH) in Lowell, MA, announced last week that it is the first Massachusetts hospital to partner with iTriage, an application that gives consumers the ability to make smart medical decisions using their iPhone, smartphone or computer. The story is part of a recent article authored by Evan Lips for the Lowell Sun.  I encourage you all to check out the article here: http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_16456241.

Two Colorado emergency-room doctors created the application in 2009.  Co-creator Dr. Peter Hudson said it was essential that Massachusetts adopt the application since it was the first state to call for mandatory health insurance.   LGH hopes the iTriage will make decision-making easier for patients.

LGH spokeswoman Christine Scaplen said, “People can search medical symptoms, learn possible causes and find appropriate locations for treatment.  The application bridges the information gap between physicians and patients.”

This is just another example of why Lowell General Hospital is one of the finest community hospitals in the country. (Yes, I am biased but I am also a believer.) It combines exception customer service/patient care with leading edge technology. And it is an employer of choice in the region. The organization embraces new opportunities to improve patient care and improve outreach. Working with my firm, Lowell General, in partnership with Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, launched one of the first hospital sponsored mommy blogs in the country – leading the way by embracing new media.

For more on Lowell General’s use of iTriage, check out the story in the Lowell Sun: http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_16456241.

Post by Dan Dunlop with Stephanie Cohen, UNC-Chapel Hill student and Jennings Intern

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