Lawrence Memorial Hospital: Committed to the Future

Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford is changing, and here is why.

Health care is changing to better serve patient needs.

Advances in technology and medications, combined with improved health screenings and better health management, have dramatically changed the way health care is delivered. Growing outpatient procedures, advances in day surgery, and the availability of telemedicine, have greatly decreased the need for overnight hospital stays that were once the norm.

As a result, the way hospitals deliver health care is also changing. In days past, admitting a patient to the hospital was the common approach to caring for a chronic ailment or health problem, having a low-risk general surgical procedure, or even a diagnostic test or a biopsy. Today, our goal is to help keep our patients out of the hospital; to manage chronic conditions so that patients are not at risk for complications requiring hospitalization; and to advance outpatient services that better meet patient-care needs. It is better for our patients and represents a fundamental shift in health care, in how we care for our patients, and how care will be reimbursed.

Today at Hallmark Health, nearly 60 percent of the patient services we provide is outpatient care, a dramatic change from just a few years ago, and entirely consistent with other hospitals in the Commonwealth. Our inpatient beds are now underutilized as inpatient stays have decreased. At Lawrence Memorial Hospital the average daily census of our medical/surgical inpatient beds is 17 patients – less than one third of the licensed capacity. Instead there is growing demand for outpatient care.

That is why this week we made the strategic move to consolidate our medical/surgical and intensive care inpatient units at Lawrence Memorial Hospital to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital with a vision that brings greater focus on ambulatory services and specialty care, emergency medicine and community programs to Lawrence Memorial Hospital. We want to build the right types of services for the future, and invest in the areas of health care where there will be the greatest need.

Our commitment to serving the health needs of our community is unchanged. First and foremost we continue to provide full service, high-quality, 24-hour emergency care at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Our emergency departments are designated Primary Stroke Services hospitals by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. We have strong relationships with the region’s ambulance services and other providers, who continue to put their unwavering trust in us with every patient they bring through our doors. If an inpatient stay or more advanced care is required, we will make the right transfer to the most appropriate facility, like we do now.

All other valuable specialty, outpatient and community services remain at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, including our urgent care center; inpatient behavioral health; radiology, mammography, and a wide range of advanced diagnostic imaging services; pharmacy and laboratory services; as well as our many outstanding community health programs.

Health care continues to be very much in need in our community. The future for Lawrence Memorial Hospital is to provide the right type of care in the right setting that our patients want and need. That is our focus as we plan for the future. We are confident we are taking the necessary bold steps now to support our vision and planning, and remain a leading provider of care in the community.

 

Alan G. Macdonald
President and Chief Executive Officer
Hallmark Health System, Inc.

 

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