Hallmark Health Announces Intent to join Wellforce

June 30, 2016

Dear Members of the Tufts University Community,

I am pleased to share with you the exciting news that Hallmark Health — the parent company of Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and community-based health services in north suburban Boston – will enter into exclusive negotiations to join Wellforce, the company formed by Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital in 2014.

Upon finalization of this agreement, Tufts Medical Center would become Hallmark Health’s preferred academic medical center. Hallmark Health’s hospitals and services have long supported many of Tufts’ neighbors, as well as our students, faculty and staff, and they will continue to be important and valued community resources.

Today’s vote by the Hallmark Health board to pursue joining Wellforce follows a rigorous review of local and national health systems. Wellforce’s selection by Hallmark Health reflects their mutual commitment to providing communities with outstanding, lower-cost care.

Included below is a message sent by Michael Wagner, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children, and Norm Deschene, CEO of Wellforce, to Medical Center staff a short time ago. It provides additional information about this important development and next steps in the process of finalizing an agreement and securing regulatory approvals.

Sincerely,

Anthony P. Monaco
President, Tufts University

______________________________________________________________

Message from Michael Wagner, President and CEO, Tufts Medical Center and Norm Deschene, CEO, Wellforce to the Tufts Medical Center Community

Dear Tufts Medical Center Community:

In 2014, Tufts Medical Center joined with Lowell General Hospital to form a different kind of health system – one that was focused on providing the very best care when and where the patient needed it. Our collaboration as Wellforce has produced many benefits for our organizations but most importantly for our patients.

We are very pleased to share with you today that another health system in the market has seen the success of Wellforce, and its board has voted unanimously to enter exclusive negotiations to join Wellforce.

Hallmark Health, which includes Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, multiple outpatient facilities, home health (VNA) and hospice services, and a school of nursing, launched a rigorous review of local and national health systems earlier this year. The organization’s goal was to find the best partner to complement its mission of providing outstanding care at a lower cost in the community. We are extremely excited – and not at all surprised – that they have selected Wellforce. Tufts Medical Center would become Hallmark Health’s preferred academic medical center.

Hallmark Health’s CEO Alan Macdonald shared with us that his team and board found Wellforce to be the system most prepared to address the changing health care market. They were also impressed with Wellforce’s proven track record of providing care in the community. You should all take great pride in that because it is the work you do every day in collaboration with your community partners that helped us establish this positive reputation. Thank you for consistently showing the market just how different Tufts MC and Wellforce are.

Having an excellent health system like Hallmark Health join Wellforce will make us all stronger. With Hallmark Health we have new opportunities for offering care in the community and population health management. Together we will share best practices on quality, work to integrate care and find ways to create greater access to care and save costs on supplies and services, just as we have done with Circle Health.

Over the next few months we will work with Hallmark Health leaders to finalize the agreement for them to join Wellforce and gain the necessary regulatory approvals. After that, we will begin to develop plans and services together and find new ways to bring outstanding care to the Hallmark Health communities and to serve them when they need care in Boston.

This is very exciting news and an important step forward for our health system. Thank you again for your role in making this happen.

Sincerely,

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

Norm Deschene
CEO, Wellforce