Full text: Baystate Franklin hospital president’s letter on keeping services local
The following was sent out to every household in Franklin County in May:
As spring finally comes to Franklin County, it’s great to meet up again with folks we have not seen through the winter, and to enjoy the annual greening happening around us which speaks of new life. I can’t think of a better season in which to bring you up to date on our own new growth and plans for the future at the hospital and in our associated medical practices here in Greenfield and Deerfield.
Developing new services, bringing in new doctors
Contrary to some of the recent negative publicity created by the Massachusetts Nurses Association about community healthcare services shrinking and/or moving elsewhere, we have actually been increasing services over the past few years – adding new specialists in Cardiology, Vascular Surgery, Pulmonology, Sports Medicine, Bariatric Surgery, Infectious Disease, and Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine. In fact, we now have more doctors than ever before seeing patients at the 48 Sanderson Street medical office building in Greenfield, whether they are with us full-time or are splitting their work between Greenfield and Northampton or Springfield. And where we have need for still more primary care providers and specialists – such as in Urology, Orthopedics and Gastroenterology – we are actively working to bring them on board.
In planning any new service or program, we need to be sure we have the expertise and technology to provide high quality patient care; sufficient community demand for the service; and the capacity to sustain it financially. Vascular Surgery is one example of a new service we recently developed to meet the needs of our community. Though we do not have the population to support a full-time vascular surgeon on our own, by coordinating efforts with our Baystate Health colleagues we now share the services of specialists from Baystate Medical Center who see patients in their Greenfield offices and perform surgeries either here or at the new Heart & Vascular Center in Springfield, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
Keeping care local
Providing the right care in the right place at the right time is what we are striving to do both here in Franklin County and throughout Baystate Health – keeping care as close to home and as timely as possible. This is what true healthcare reform is all about. With more focus on prevention, wellness, and early detection of illness, the newest reform measures in Massachusetts are actually designed to help us keep people out of the hospital. And when we are able to receive most of our care in doctors’ offices and other outpatient settings, our treatment is often both more effective and less costly.
Of course, “right time, right place” continues to mean hospital care for those who are seriously ill or injured. In fact we just hired 4 new ER specialists in the past two months to better meet your needs. And from our emergency room to our inpatient units, Baystate Franklin is here to provide high quality, compassionate care to everyone who needs it, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, regardless of their ability to pay. This is the hospital’s charitable mission to the community, and it has not changed since 1895.
What has changed is that ever since we joined with Baystate Health in 1987, we have been directly linked to the services and specialists at our sister teaching hospital in Springfield. When patients need that level of care, we are already connected, and we’re keeping those services right here in the Pioneer Valley. We view it all as local care – our community hospital; our top notch academic medical center just down the road.
Looking Ahead: continuing to grow the services our community needs
Within the next few months, Baystate Franklin will open a wound care center to treat people who need extra support to heal – including those with diabetes, cancer, and other conditions that slow the healing process. This center, which will include hyperbaric oxygen chambers, is a brand new service for us and very much needed by our community.
We are also involved in preliminary planning for a new surgical suite to replace existing operating rooms, recovery rooms and the endoscopy unit – all part of upgrading the service and helping us recruit additional surgeons. We are also hoping to purchase the Holy Trinity properties along North Street in Greenfield, which could later facilitate development of additional office space for our growing medical staff.
Flexibility to change and to grow in new ways will keep us resilient
As healthcare continues to evolve – with sophisticated medical and surgical treatments becoming even more effective and less invasive – many of the services that now require an inpatient hospital stay will instead be provided in outpatient settings. And as healthcare reform evolves, care will be available to more people at less cost, while all of us will be called to take greater responsibility for keeping ourselves well. This is how we will improve the health of our community while at the same time reducing costs.
We are excited to be part of this change, and look forward to serving the residents of Franklin County for many generations to come. Thank you for your continuing confidence in our hospital and medical practices.