Gardner, MA (May 3, 2022) – Heywood Healthcare and UMass Memorial Health, with the approval of their respective Boards of Trustees, have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) that will allow Heywood Healthcare and UMass Memorial Health to fully explore affiliation options upon the completion of a thorough and non-binding due diligence process.
Heywood and UMass Memorial currently collaborate on a number of programs. The proposed affiliation builds on these existing relationships and presents additional opportunities for long-term benefits and a strong operating model for both institutions in the communities they serve.
“During the past two years, we have managed both the challenges of COVID-19 and an increasingly complex health care environment. In order to assure continued access to outstanding local health services, we must consider new strategic models that strengthen and enhance the viability of services for our community,” said Win Brown, president and CEO of Heywood Healthcare.
“UMass Memorial Health is thrilled to have the chance to affiliate with such an outstanding community health system in Heywood Healthcare,” said Doug Brown, president of Community Hospitals and chief administrative officer for UMass Memorial Health. “We look forward to working with Heywood Healthcare through the due diligence process, to include a clear understanding of the health and economic landscape of the north central and north Quabbin communities, allowing us to evaluate how a strong partnership could improve the health of the region. We anticipate that, among other things, such an agreement will include a commitment to preserving local services and a significant investment outside the hospital walls in the Heywood community, consistent with our anchor mission work, and with the commitments we made recently in the Harrington Hospital community.”
“This proposed affiliation will strengthen care for patients in central Massachusetts,” said Eric, W. Dickson, MD, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health. “I am excited that by working more closely together, Heywood Healthcare and UMass Memorial will improve access to essential health care services in this region.”
Among the positive benefits offered by the proposed affiliation between Heywood and UMass Memorial are:
- Shared mission to improve the health of the region, including in some of the state’s most economically challenged areas
- A joint commitment to continuing community investment to address social determinants of health (the root causes of poor health), just as UMass Memorial is doing in other central Massachusetts communities, and building on the foundation Heywood Healthcare has established in the north central and north quabbin region
- Increased access to capital to continue to invest in facilities, equipment and technology to support access to high quality health care in local community settings
- Protection of community investments, ensuring the viability of deep community investments in infrastructure and services, such as the new Heywood Surgical Pavilion, currently under development
- Comprehensive electronic health record to support care continuity, quality and efficiency
- Reduction of overhead costs - efficiencies of scale/purchasing, etc.
- Expanded access to specialists, innovative programming such as Hospital at Home, and technologies to support population health programs/services
- Increased capacity to support competitive wages, professional development and growth opportunities
“Now is the time to make clear and deliberate decisions for the long-term health of our community and continued long-term strength and stability of our hospital system as a provider, employer, and economic contributor,” said Win Brown.
UMass Memorial will prioritize continued local access to critical health services and explore a number of possible options to meet that goal. The letter of intent is non-binding, and the parties expect that it will take up to one year for completion of the process, which will be subject to regulatory review and approval.
If the proposed alliance is consummated, Heywood would become a member hospital within the UMass Memorial Health system, joining UMass Memorial Medical Center, UMass Memorial Health - Harrington Hospital, UMass Memorial Health - HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital and UMass Memorial Health - Marlborough Hospital.
The proposed affiliation does not impact patient care services currently offered within Heywood’s system. All sites remain open and patients will continue to use Heywood campus locations and physician offices for routine appointments, emergency care and diagnostic testing, including imaging, labs, cancer care, inpatient admissions, surgical procedures and behavioral health.
“This is just the first step in the process,” said Win Brown. “We want our patients to know that services remain open and accessible, now and in the future.”
About Heywood Healthcare
Heywood Healthcare is an independent community healthcare system serving north central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. It is comprised of Heywood Hospital, a 134-bed acute care community-owned non-profit hospital in Gardner, MA; Athol Hospital, a 25-bed not-for-profit, Critical Access Hospital in Athol, MA; Heywood Medical Group, with primary care physicians and specialists located throughout the region; and The Quabbin Retreat, our premier destination for treatment of mental health and substance misuse.
The organization includes eight satellite facilities in MA: Ashburnham Family Medicine in Ashburnham, Heywood Rehabilitation Center, Summit Family Medicine & Heywood Urgent Care in Gardner, Winchendon Health Center & Murdock School-based Health Center in Winchendon, Tully Family Medicine and Walk-In Care in Athol; and Millers River Primary Care in Orange. The organization also includes the Heywood Healthcare Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit www.heywood.org
About UMass Memorial Health
UMass Memorial Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 15,500 employees and 2,100 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group and Harrington Physician Services. We are the clinical partner of UMass Chan Medical School. Our comprehensive system includes UMass Memorial Medical Center, UMass Memorial Health – Harrington, UMass Memorial Health – HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, UMass Memorial Health – Marlborough Hospital, and UMass Memorial Health – Community Healthlink. Visit www.ummhealth.org.