Tufts Medical Center Partnership with Lowell General Hospital

April 14, 2014

Dear Members of the Tufts Community,

We are pleased to share with you the news that Tufts Medical Center plans to partner with Lowell General Hospital, along with their physician networks, to form a new health system. The two organizations will work together through a yet-to-be-named parent company, while still retaining their independence, to thrive in the changing health care landscape.

This new collaboration reflects Tufts Medical Center’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and clinical care. We are confident that this new health care system will bring together the very best of academic medicine and community health care.

Included below is a message sent from Michael Wagner, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children, to Medical Center staff a short time ago. It offers additional details about today’s announcement.

Please join us in embracing this exciting new partnership.

Best wishes,

Tony Monaco
President, Tufts University

Harris Berman
Dean, Tufts University School of Medicine

———————————————————————————–

Message from President and CEO Mike Wagner to the Tufts Medical Center Community

Dear Medical Center Community:

Today, I am extremely pleased to announce a major development in our strategic plan that will not only move Tufts Medical Center forward but will advance the delivery of health care in Massachusetts.

Tufts Medical Center, Floating Hospital, Lowell General Hospital and our physician networks plan to join together to form a new and alternative health system for Massachusetts. Our two organizations will maintain local control and local leadership of our hospitals – I will continue as your CEO – but we will come together through a parent company which will own both hospitals. This parent company, which we will name in the coming months, will help us develop the services, scale and technologies we all need to thrive in the new reform era. For example, we will collaborate on population health initiatives, build strong clinical programs, and expand teaching and research into the community.

Ellen Zane will be Chairperson of the new parent company, and Lowell General CEO Normand Deschene will be the CEO. The governing board for this new organization will have equal representation from Tufts MC and Lowell General. Tufts Medical Center leadership will continue to lead our three-part mission of teaching, research and clinical care.

This is an exciting opportunity for us to improve the Massachusetts health care market and to expand our current relationship with Lowell General – one of the strongest, most well-respected community hospitals in Massachusetts. Our new system — the first of its kind in Massachusetts – has been designed to be an alternative system – one where an academic medical center doesn’t just buy community hospitals to control them but instead develops a true partnership that puts the needs of patients at the center. Together, we will develop population health services that manage quality and cost across the full cycle of care – for the healthy, the chronically ill and the critically ill. We will do this without asking hospitals to give up the local autonomy they and their communities desire.

Lowell General, Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital have been terrific partners for some time now; our organizations have developed first-rate pediatric, high-risk obstetrics and critical care services in Lowell. By expanding our relationship we can help more patients stay in the community, and when tertiary or quaternary care is needed, Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children will be ready to serve those patients. We believe this new system will differentiate itself in Massachusetts by the level of collaboration between academic medicine and community care.

Lowell General, Tufts MC and our physicians are the perfect partners to develop this alternative system. Our organizations and our physicians have been recognized repeatedly in reports by the Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis for our ability to deliver high quality care at a lower cost. This is just the formula that legislators, business leaders and patients have been demanding to make care better and more affordable.

I believe over time other strong providers in the market will want to join with us in this value-driven and collaborative system. This will help us grow, and growth is important for us to support our clinical, research and teaching missions.

We will hold special Town Meetings today, tomorrow and Wednesday to give you more information and answer questions. The schedule, and a question and answer sheet follow this email. Your manager also can be helpful in answering your questions.

Over the next few months we will continue our discussions with Lowell General to reach and sign a final agreement. In the meantime, continue the great work you are doing to care for our patients. Your excellence is what makes us a great partner. I am excited to work with Ellen, Norm and the entire senior team to develop this new system in collaboration with Lowell General. Please join me in celebrating this new vision of health care.

Sincerely,

Mike Wagner, MD
President and CEO
Tufts Medical Center and
Floating Hospital for Children

Town Hall Schedule
Monday, April 14
2pm & 3:30pm
Wolff Auditorium

Tuesday, April 15
7:30 am
Wolff Auditorium

Wednesday, April 16
5:30 pm (physician-focused)
Wolff Auditorium