In the Merrimack Valley: Lawrence General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Partner-up

At a time when another Merrimack Valley hospital and health care system – Cartis Christi Holy Famly Hospital – is in the midst of  a possible sale to a for-profit capital management entity, Lawrence General Hospital is forging a different kind of partnership. Articles in both the Boston Globe and the Eagle-Tribune note the affiliation of Lawrence General Hospital with Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. While characterized as “not a merger” the relationship coincides with the possible shake-up in health care services for the Merrimack Valley and the concern of added pressure on other community hospitals like Lawrence General.

In the  Eagle-Tribune article writer Cindy Huang notes:

The affiliation will extend a more limited agreement begun last year that allows Lawrence General to draw on doctors and other resources at Beth Israel’s CardioVascular Institute, which has enhanced catheterizations, angioplasty and other heart procedures at Lawrence. The broader affiliation announced yesterday will extend those collaborations into areas that have not yet been agreed on, but could include treatment of diabetes, vascular surgery, podiatry, pregnancy, eye care and pancreatic transplants, said Nicholas Zaharias, a vice president at Lawrence General…

The affiliation would link a Goliath in the state’s health care system with a relative David. Beth Israel’s $1.4 billion budget is about three time’s what Lawrence General spends, Beth Israel has 621 beds; Lawrence has 230. Beth Israel delivered 5,000 about babies last year; Lawrence delivered 1,667.

Lawrence does significantly more business in at least one area: Beth Israel’s emergency room saw 53,270 patients last year; Lawrence saw 72,700, making it the third busiest ER in Massachusetts.

Both hospitals said they expect the affiliation will fortify their institutions at a time of flux in hospital care in Massachusetts and nationwide.

Read the full article in the Eagle-Tribune here.