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What would an affiliation between MGH and MVH mean to Islanders?News of a possible affiliation between Martha's Vineyard Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital has no doubt raised many hopes and some questions - and perhaps even a few eyebrows. We want to help those who look to Martha's Vineyard Hospital for their health-care needs understand what such an affiliation could mean.
First and most important, the goal of the proposed affiliation is to enhance the high-quality medical care and services available on Martha's Vineyard. The MGH and Martha's Vineyard Hospital already enjoy strong relationships in cardiology, neurology, radiology, and emergency services. An affiliation could mean new or expanded services right on the Island; extended coverage in emergency, anesthesia, radiology and surgery; and an expanded pool of consulting specialists available to Island physicians.
An affiliation with the MGH also could offer better coordinated and more closely linked care for those patients requiring specialized services unavailable on Martha's Vineyard. As an affiliate of the MGH and its parent, Partners HealthCare, Martha's Vineyard Hospital and its caregivers could be connected into the Partners electronic medical record, one of the most important tools for ensuring the highest quality and safest care. This online medical record makes relevant medical information - test results, x-rays, medical history, medications, and lab results - readily available in real time to all providers involved in someone's care.
About the authors
Dr. Peter L. Slavin became the president of Massachusetts General Hospital on Jan. 1, 2003. From 1999-2002, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, which includes more than 1,700 physicians and employs nearly 1,000 of them. From 1997 to 1999, Dr. Slavin served as President of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Before that, he trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1984 to 1987 and was senior vice president and chief medical officer from 1994 to 1997. Dr. Slavin graduated from Harvard College in 1979, Harvard Medical School in 1984, and Harvard Business School in 1990. He teaches internal medicine and health care management at Harvard Medical School, where he is a professor of health care policy. He has also spoken widely on such topics as quality and utilization management, the economics of teaching hospitals, and the state of physician practices.
Beyond the clinical benefits, the proposed affiliation would help bring a measure of financial security to Martha's Vineyard Hospital. Under the terms of the affiliation agreement, the MGH would provide $5 million to support Martha's Vineyard Hospital's fund-raising campaign to build a new state-of-the-art facility. Also, an affiliation with the MGH could enable Martha's Vineyard Hospital to take advantage of our bond rating and borrow money at a favorable rate.
Enhanced care, expanded clinical services, stabilized finances - where's the catch? Would Martha's Vineyard Hospital be able to maintain its much-valued independence and freedom if it were an affiliate of the MGH and Partners?
The answer is a clear yes. As the history of Partners demonstrates, we are not about reinventing, changing, merging, or molding institutions into some sort of standardized hospital model. Every institution within Partners is individual and distinct, with a culture, style, and approach that is unique and right for its specific community. Partners has evolved into one of the nation's strongest health-care systems because it values the autonomy and flexibility needed to preserve an institution's special relationship with those it serves. As an affiliate, Martha's Vineyard Hospital, like other Partners entities, would continue to make decisions locally, with oversight provided by its own engaged board of trustees.
For nearly 200 years, the MGH has delivered excellent care, compassion, and comfort to all who have come through its doors. This is our mission, our covenant to patients and families. Through the Partners system and its network of hospitals and physicians and through a broad range of collaborations, we have been privileged to reach even further, touching the lives of more individuals and more communities. Restoring health, saving lives, offering hope - this is the foundation on which the MGH has earned and sustained its reputation. And this is the promise we offer to Martha's Vineyard.
Ultimately, this affiliation is about doing what is best for a truly vibrant and unique Island community. Martha's Vineyard Hospital must not just survive, but thrive as a vital health-care resource for the Island. We are honored that the leadership and staff of Martha's Vineyard Hospital have looked to the MGH to help fulfill this noble vision.