Northampton Area Pediatrics to absorb Sugarloaf Pediatrics in South Deerfield

A view of the front entrance sign for Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton.

A view of the front entrance sign for Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. STAFF FILE PHOTO


Staff Writer

Published: 03-14-2024 10:20 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Sugarloaf Pediatrics in South Deerfield will be changing hands on July 1, with the pediatric center shifting under Northampton Area Pediatrics, according to an announcement made by its current owner Cooley Dickinson Hospital and its parent system, Mass General Brigham.

According to the announcement, running a single pediatric practice had been a challenge for the hospital amid staffing shortages affecting the health care industry.

“Everything we do starts with what’s best for the patient,” Cooley Dickinson CEO Lynette Watkins said in a statement. “This decision is about our commitment to prioritizing the well-being of the community and ensuring they receive the best care possible.”

Staff currently employed at Sugarloaf Pediatrics will have the option of continuing their roles within the practice or to seek employment elsewhere within the Cooley Dickinson Hospital organization, the announcement said.

The transition means that Sugarloaf Pediatrics’ roughly 2,000 patients and families will be able to receive access to Northampton Area Pediatrics’ services without needing a referral. The pediatric group currently has locations in Northampton and Amherst. Sugarloaf Pediatrics has served patients from Hampshire and Franklin counties as well as southern Vermont.

Additional benefits that Sugarloaf Pediatrics’ patients will now have access to include expanded hours on nights and weekends, integrated behavioral health services, lactation support and parenting workshops, according to the announcement.

“Our entire team is excited to bring this practice into our family and we are glad to work with Cooley Dickinson Hospital, who has always been a valuable partner in the care of our patients,” Dr. Diana Johanson, managing partner of Northampton Area Pediatrics, said in a statement. “We’re both committed to a smooth transition for all parties involved. The only changes patients will see will be positive enhancements.”

Adam Bagni, a spokesperson for Cooley Dickinson and Mass General, declined to comment on whether there had been any monetary transaction as part of the transfer, saying the hospital does not publicly share specifics on individual business transactions. Bagni also declined to share any estimate on how much money the hospital might save through the transition.

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Cooley Dickinson Medical Group acquired Sugarloaf Pediatrics in April 2014. The practice moved to its current location at 29 Elm St. in South Deerfield in 2016. Sari Miettinen, a former pediatrician at Sugarloaf Pediatrics, had recently served as the hospital’s chief medical officer before her departure in January.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at