EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 20, 2011

Beverly Hospital, Lahey Clinic team up

Two organizations will align, form new health system

BEVERLY — Northeast Health System's board voted unanimously yesterday to affiliate with the Lahey Clinic to form a new health care system in northeastern Massachusetts.

Northeast, which is Beverly Hospital's parent organization, will align with Lahey and form a new organization called Lahey Health System, to be led by Lahey's president and CEO, Dr. Howard Grant.

Both health systems will continue to operate on their own under the umbrella of the new parent organization. Kenneth Hanover, president and CEO of Northeast, will continue to run the Northeast system.

Northeast Health System operates Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester and several other health care facilities, as well as several human services agencies. Lahey Clinic, a research and teaching hospital, is headquartered in Burlington and has a second hospital in Peabody.

No financial details have been announced about the arrangement, because no money will change hands, the leaders of the two health care systems said.

Grant said in a statement that the two entities will make "a great health care team."

The goal is to provide an increased quality of care to patients at a lower cost, they said.

"We need to get bigger so we can provide more comprehensive services," Hanover said. "Size gives us greater opportunities to achieve cost efficiencies."

Yesterday's announcement came after months of speculation about the fate of Northeast, which has been seeking to merge or affiliate with another system. Other possible suitors included the nonprofit Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and two for-profit companies, Steward Health Care and Vanguard.

"My take on it is this looks like a positive resolution," said Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon, who said Beverly Hospital is the city's largest employer. "I think this is the least unsettling choice they could have made."

For a patient at Beverly Hospital, the arrangement will provide access to Lahey's expertise in highly complex cases. It will also allow the two organizations to better manage patient care and costs.

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