EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

March 20, 2014

Holy Family, Merrimack Valley hospitals to merge

METHUEN — Two Merrimack Valley hospitals will be partnering to serve the community. Steward Health Care System announced the integration of Haverhill’s Merrimack Valley Hospital and Methuen’s Holy Family Hospital this week.

“After careful consideration, we determined that it is in the best interest of our patients, our employees and the surrounding communities to bring Merrimack Valley Hospital and Holy Family Hospital closer together,” said Dr. Mark Girard, president of Steward Health Care.

The two hospitals have been working with each other for awhile now and the merger will make the partnership official. The two already share the same president and Human Resources director.

“The merger is more about a leadership prospective,” Vice President of Media Relations Brooke Thurston said. “These hospitals have worked closely together in the past and it’s been a successful partnership. This is more of a formal formalization of an already existing partnership.”

Steward will file an application with the Department of Public Health to add Merrimack Valley Hospital to the Holy Family Hospital license. The approval process is expected to take several months.

Both the state and federal government have passed laws requiring hospitals to better manage costs. This integration puts Merrimack Valley and Holy Family Hospital on stronger financial footing while maintaining the same level of acute care services offered at their current locations, according to Thurston.

“This will make us stronger financially to continue to provide the great service we do,” Thurston said. “It will make that aspect more efficient.” She declined to comment on how much money will be saved.

Both locations will remain open and there are no layoffs expected. Thurston said patients should see no difference in care they receive.

“From an employee and patient perspective, this will be a seamless transition,” said Lester Schindel, president of Holy Family Hospital and Merrimack Valley Hospital. “All acute-care services will continue to be offered at their current locations. Steward remains committed to the communities served by Merrimack Valley and Holy Family hospitals.”

Merrimack Valley Hospital has 105 acute care beds and 17 behavioral medicine beds. Holy Family Hospital has 261 acute care beds.

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