Tufts Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital announce formation of new health care system



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TO HEALTH, MEDICAL, AND NATIONAL EDITORS:

Tufts Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital announce formation of

new health care system

BOSTON, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tufts Medical Center

and Lowell General Hospital today announced plans to form a new health

system. Designed as an alternative model, this new system will foster

collaboration between and among community-based and academic medical

providers to effectively identify patient needs and manage the health

of the communities they serve.

The organizations will align with a new parent company, led by Normand

Deschene as Chief Executive Officer and Ellen Zane as Chairperson.

Tufts MC, Lowell General and their physician groups will maintain

local governance but will partner to create the scale needed to

capitalize on population data management, efficiencies of group

purchasing and the development of innovative services while assuring

autonomy. The organizations will have equal representation on the

parent company board.

"We believe in keeping physicians close to patients and removing the

barriers that stand in the way of patients receiving care at the right

time in the most appropriate setting, conveniently and affordably,"

said Deschene, CEO of Lowell General Hospital. "This partnership with

Tufts Medical Center will do just that. The new system will allow us

to build and strengthen connections, remove obstacles and ultimately

ensure that patients are navigating a far less complex healthcare

experience."

The new system will unite organizations who share a demonstrated high

quality, lower-cost approach to health care services and an

established set of population health management practices and programs

- a crucial aspect of the Affordable Care Act environment.

"Our partnership will be the first of its kind in Massachusetts," said

Zane, Vice Chair of the Tufts MC Board of Trustees. "This system is

not being formed by one entity taking over another, with the academic

medical center as the hub of the universe. What we are creating is a

'round table,' if you will, predicated on our commitment to managing

the health and well-being of the communities we serve. This system we

are forming with Lowell General Hospital is powerful both on its own,

and as an alternative for other community providers and regional

physician groups who share our vision and values."

Lowell General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center have been recognized

repeatedly in reports from the Attorney General's Office and the

Center for Health Information and Analysis for their ability to

deliver high quality care with a lower cost structure, just the

formula that legislators, business leaders and patients have been

demanding to make care better and more affordable in Massachusetts.

"We know from experience that strong hospitals and physician groups

like ours seek the scale necessary to leverage collaborative

technologies and data sharing that allow us to improve access to

affordable, high quality health care for the communities we serve,"

said Deschene. "We believe the market is hungry for this type of

value-driven system."

Tufts Medical Center CEO Michael Wagner, MD, said, "Lowell General is

a perfect teammate, one of the strongest and most well-respected

community hospital systems in Massachusetts. By joining together, we

can accelerate the development of services and technologies to help

patients across the spectrum from the healthy to the chronically ill

to the critically ill. As a CEO and a physician, I find the benefits

offered by this system unmatched and extremely attractive."

"We have seen the success of working with Tufts Medical Center and its

commitment to partnering with community hospitals firsthand through

our successful pediatric and critical care affiliations," said Joseph

White, President of Lowell General Hospital. "Ultimately, this

partnership will help us continue to deliver on our promise of

complete connected care to members of our community - no matter where

they access that care. Tufts Medical Center will bring its commitment

to research, teaching and specialty care innovation to this

partnership, and will help us to increase the breadth and scope of the

care we provide in the community."

The new system will leverage population health data and services

already available through the Lowell General Hospital and New England

Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA), a network of 1,800 physicians

affiliated with Tufts Medical Center. This will support a

cost-efficient and optimally effective approach to population health

management, a method by which hospitals, doctors and other health care

providers work together to improve patients' health rather than simply

treat episodes of disease. It is a critical component of health care

reform. NEQCA and Lowell General Hospital have had significant success

and are highly regarded for their innovations in this area.

"Physicians and hospitals are going to find this unique system

attractive in that it provides a level of local control and

collaboration between academic and community medicine that currently

does not exist," said Jeffrey Lasker, MD, President and CEO of NEQCA.

"This new model has been designed to support the relationship between

the doctor and patient and will allow us the opportunity to build on

our demonstrated success in ensuring healthier outcomes for patients

and limiting health care costs."

About Tufts Medical Center Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional,

not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a

full-service hospital for adults and Floating Hospital for Children.

Conveniently located in downtown Boston, the Medical Center is the

principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine.

Floating Hospital for Children is the full-service children's hospital

of Tufts Medical Center and the principal pediatric teaching hospital

of Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Medical Center is

affiliated with the New England Quality Care Alliance, a network of

nearly 1,800 physicians throughout Eastern Massachusetts. For more

information, please visit www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org

About Lowell General Hospital Lowell General Hospital is an

independent, not-for-profit, community hospital serving the Greater

Lowell area and surrounding communities. With two primary campuses

located in Lowell, Massachusetts, the hospital offers the latest

state-of-the-art technology and a full range of medical and surgical

services for patients, from newborns to seniors.

About New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA) New England Quality

Care Alliance is a partnership of community and academic physicians

dedicated to providing comprehensive, innovative, high-quality and

affordable health care that brings value to their patients and the

community. NEQCA is comprised of almost 500 primary care physicians

and pediatricians along with more than 1,300 specialists, located in

practices across Eastern Massachusetts, from the Merrimack Valley to

Cape Cod. NEQCA physicians are organized into groups called Local

Care Organizations (LCOs), and are on staff at community hospitals

throughout Eastern Massachusetts. The NEQCA network is integrated

with Tufts Medical Center, the principal teaching hospital for Tufts

University School of Medicine and the Floating Hospital for Children,

the full-service children's hospital of Tufts Medical Center and the

principal pediatric teaching hospital of Tufts University School of

Medicine. For more information, please visit: www.neqca.org

SOURCE Tufts Medical Center

-0- 04/14/2014

/CONTACT: Angela Strunk, Lowell General Hospital, 978-937-6425 angela.strunk@lowellgeneral.org; or Julie Jette, Tufts Medical Center, 617-636-3265 jjette@tuftsmedicalcenter.org

/Web Site: http://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org

CO: Tufts Medical Center

ST: Massachusetts

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-- DC04863 --

0000 04/14/2014 17:40:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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The Associated Press

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