GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

January 7, 2012

The Mayor's Desk: Driving home the need for Addison Gilbert

What follows is some of the testimony that I offered at the Department of Public Health public hearing on Thursday night regarding the future of Addison Gilbert Hospital:

"If I could characterize in simple terms the public sentiment in our city for the proposed transfer of ownership of the licensed hospital, Addison Gilbert, to Lahey Health Systems Inc., I would characterize it as conditioned support.

"Many of us believe that the Northeast Health System and Lahey Clinic affiliation is the right opportunity for our community and the region, and we are excited about the reach and quality of care that the new organization promises. Both Northeast Health Systems and Lahey Clinic have been serving the region for many years independently and collaboratively. The integration of these two organizations makes sense.

"I'd like to note that throughout the affiliation search process, Mr. Hanover, has been transparent and committed to keeping the Cape Ann communities updated. He has met with me at key junctures in the process, he has addressed the Gloucester City Council on a number of occasions, and most recently he, along with Dr. Grant, presented information and answered questions at highly attended community forums. Mr. Hanover has committed to continuous updates, and to stay engaged with the community going forward. We are greatly appreciative of these efforts.

"We in Gloucester understand that the landscape in health care is changing, and providers must look out for, and we must be open to, new ways in which high quality, more cost-effective care can be delivered. My conclusion is that our best opportunity for assuring continued access to quality care and services in the region is through the proposed affiliation between Northeast Health Systems and Lahey Clinic.

"But not at the expense of Addison Gilbert Hospital.

"Addison Gilbert Hospital must continue to play an integral role as part of this proposed system of care, and the eight essential services that constitute a licensed emergency services site for a hospital must be maintained.

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