Podcast: New Local Hospital Pact Aims to Keep Health Care Local and Affordable

Holy Family Hospital President Craig A. Jesiolowski. (Courtesy photograph.)

Those requiring medical care and prefer being close to home in the Merrimack Valley are helped by a new agreement involving Lawrence General Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

Holy Family Hospital President Craig Jesiolowski, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, said the agreement means the local hospitals will work together while remaining independent. He explains how the collaboration came together.

“This started out probably about two, two and a half, years ago when Deb Wilson became the president of Lawrence General Hospital. I sat down with her and said, ‘Listen, you know what, we are a couple of miles apart at the most, and we should be working together in any way we can to improve access. We share medical staff. Most of the physicians in the community are on both medical staffs. How can we get together and improve access?’”

Jesiolowski says the agreement is designed to enhance care delivery, lower costs and improve quality, noting it “won’t change anything dramatically. It will be more in internal than external.” Lawrence General Hospital will maintain its independence, staying a not-for-profit hospital. Holy Family will remain part of Steward Health Care, and the partnership is founded among three main pillars.

“Jointly explore how to best to expand access to specialty care across multiple service lines at Lawrence General and Holy Family. We’ll do that through St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center that has the specialist as a tertiary, or quaternary, provider that a community hospital like Lawrence General or Holy Family wouldn’t have. So, we would be able to access their specialist to come to the Merrimack Valley and establish clinics here to keep as much care local,” he explains.

Jesiolowski says the arrangement also helps the two hospitals in their efforts to retain and recruit physicians by offering an expanded patient base, combining the two hospitals, along with the specialty services of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton, which is also part of Steward Health Care System. The agreement is expected to allow the two hospitals to explore alternative payment arrangements that foster coordinated care for higher quality at lower costs.

Besides WHAV.net, WHAV’s “Merrimack Valley Newsmakers” podcasts are available via Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Alexa.

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