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February 23, 2011

Northeast chief vows to keep city in loop on AGH

The chief executive officer of Northeast Health System, parent company of Gloucester's Addison Gilbert Hospital, is pledging to city officials they will be kept in the loop as his health care corporation explores partnership options with four larger organizations.

At a City Council session Tuesday night, Northeast CEO Ken Hanover outlined the latest milestone — a Feb. 7 request for proposals from the Lahey Clinic, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Vanguard Health Systems and Steward Health Care System.

"We are not seeking a partner because we are losing money or doing poorly by any measure," Hanover said in delivering prepared remarks.

"Instead," Hanover said, "our board of trustees believes that, to ensure our future vitality and maintain our ongoing ability to serve the health care needs of our community, we find a more extensive partnership, which adds to our size, increases the availability of resources for future investment and share our beliefs and values about community-based health care."

Making a third appearance before city officials since joining Northeast about 18 months ago, Hanover noted that he was well acquainted with the breadth and depth of local concerns about Addison Gilbert.

"Your concern — and we hear it, believe me, we hear it loud and clear — is, what does this mean for Addison Gilbert Hospital?" he noted.

"I've heard you tell me on many occasions that you want AGH to remain open and to continue providing the eight essential services required by our hospital license," he added. "You would like us to add more primary care doctors to our physician complement and more general surgeons and surgical subspecialists as well.

"In short, I understand 'the wants' and I will be discussing these with our potential partners," he said. "However such discussions have not occurred to date. We are still too early in our process."

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