SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 9, 2013

Salem Hospital to expand

Addition will include new ER, more rooms for patients

Ethan Forman
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — After studying how patients receive care and are managed for the past three years, North Shore Medical Center President and CEO Robert G. Norton said a more than $200 million investment in Salem Hospital and Union Hospital in Lynn and in the communities should better how both facilities provide medical and psychiatric services to the region.

It's all part of a rethink of how North Shore Medical Center can better use its Salem and Lynn campuses amid changes in health care and the need to do as much as possible with scarce resources.

The hospitals are just 5.8 miles apart, so services at both are being consolidated. Over the next three years, Salem Hospital will become the primary acute care hospital for the two cities, meaning that Salem is where the sickest patients in the Salem and Lynn will stay overnight or get surgery.

The investment in Salem Hospital could be as high as $170 million for an addition on the Highland Avenue side of the hospital that will house a new and expanded emergency room and 72 private rooms for patients. The emergency department was last upgraded just 12 years ago, Norton said, but has reached capacity. The addition will also consolidate intensive care units and surgical services to Salem. The project will provide a unified front entrance to a hospital that has many ways to get in and out. The hospital's hodgepodge of parking lots will also be reconfigured.

The new building will be located at the present site of the building's power plant, which is at the front of the hospital across from the Davenport building entrance. There is an ongoing project to relocate the power plant to the back of hospital.

Lynn's Union will close its 84 inpatient beds and will become a primary care, psychiatric and behavioral health center run. Massachusetts General Hospital will run its behavioral health and psychiatry care. It could see an investment of about $40 million. Lynn's Union's emergency room will remain open, and it will be a center for primary, specialty and urgent care. The ability to run lab tests, get an X-ray and a CT scan will remain in Lynn.

Additional investments will made in the Lynn Community and North Shore Community health centers, Norton said.

The announcement was made today as Partners HealthCare, the parent of North Shore Medical Center, said an affiliation with Hallmark Health System, which operates Lawrence Memorial (Medford) and Melrose-Wakefield hospitals, would allow psychiatry beds at Lawrence Memorial and at Salem Hospital to be relocated to Lynn's Union.

See tomorrow's Salem News for expanded coverage of the story.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.