Baystate Health announced on January 26 that it will close Baystate Mary Lane Outpatient Center in Ware within the next two years and relocate the majority of services to Baystate Wing Hospital located nine miles away in Palmer.
“We know this is difficult news for our community. Along with our Baystate care providers, patients and community, we are grateful for the quality care that has been provided at Baystate Mary Lane over the many years since it was first established in 1909,” said Dr. Mark Keroack, MPH, president and CEO of Baystate Health.
According to Dr. Keroack, over the course of the health system’s nearly 150-year history of delivering care to the community, Baystate has adapted to the changing needs of each of the communities in order to ensure the vital delivery of care.
“We carefully look at current needs and plan for the future to ensure that we deliver on our mission. The closure of Mary Lane Outpatient Center comes as we look to better meet the contemporary healthcare needs of communities across our region in a sustainable way,” said Dr. Keroack.
“Among the reasons for the closure is that, despite our significant investment in this location during the past several years, patients are choosing to receive care in other locations,” he added.
Key factors in the decision are reflective of the current state of care delivery at Baystate Mary Lane Outpatient Center:
- Nearly half of Baystate Mary Lane Outpatient Center’s capacity is unused during the daytime and 90 percent is unused during overnight hours.
- Baystate Mary Lane’s Satellite Emergency Facility has had minimal utilization for emergency level care. Of the 28 patients per day seeking care in this location, over 85% (24 out of 28) present with common, minor, non-urgent conditions such as cold, flu, and sprains, which could be treated in a primary care setting.
- It has been challenging to recruit and retain providers in the area, especially in small practices. Over the past two years, Baystate Health Eastern Region primary care lost seven physicians and gained just one. This market reality highlights the need to consolidate practices in support of clinician candidates who seek robust multi-specialty practices with opportunity to network and share with colleagues the on-call needs to support patient care.
- Due to the age of the current Baystate Mary Lane building, to maintain steady-state operations would require over $5 million in construction investments to maintain the facility, compliance and operations over the next three years. Consolidating operations at Baystate Wing will allow Baystate Health to better invest resources in state-of-the-art care, emergency care, physician recruitment, and improved access to primary care. It also allows for more effective staffing in an area where recruiting clinical professionals can be challenging.
Baystate Health will follow the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulatory process for making changes to services. Baystate’s goal over the next several months is to work collaboratively with the Baystate Mary Lane team and engage with the community as it develops an orderly transition plan for programs and services to Baystate Wing. Transition plans include:
- In June, the Baystate Mary Lane Satellite Emergency Facility will close and cancer care services will be transitioned to the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care. Over the next two years, imaging/3D mammography and rehabilitation services, as well as OB/GYN and pediatric medical practices, will relocate to Baystate Wing.
- Emergency services: Baystate Wing Hospital offers patients comprehensive 24/7 emergency services in a newly constructed (2018) emergency department that is nine miles from the Baystate Mary Lane campus.
- Cancer services: Comprehensive cancer care will be provided at the D’Amour Center for Cancer Care in Springfield, where patients are already receiving specialized cancer care.
- Transportation: Cancer patients who receive care at Baystate Mary Lane will be offered transportation at no charge following the transition of care to Springfield. To support access to outpatient appointments at Baystate Wing Hospital when the two Baystate medical practices at BML transition over the next two years, Baystate will look to the strong foundation it has built with the Quaboag Connector and, if feasible, will further invest in this resource. More information will be forthcoming as needs, services and transportation options are evaluated.
Baystate Wing Hospital’s comprehensive healthcare service plans include:
- primary and multi-specialty medical practices including integrated behavioral health, substance use treatment, with expanded hours and walk-in same day appointments. These practices currently serve the needs of Ware and Warren residents who accounted for >8,000 outpatient visits in FY20
- specialty care in cardiology, pulmonary, gastroenterology, surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics• significantly expanding GI endoscopy.
“We are committed to investing in community-based primary care physician recruitment and retention in this region, with a focus on increasing accessibility for same day appointments and offering increased availability of pediatric care. We will also continue our commitment to the community and support the town of Ware and surrounding communities. Volunteer members from these communities will continue to serve on Baystate Wing Hospital’s Community Benefits Advisory Council providing their valuable voices to guide Baystate’s continued investment in support of community health needs,” said Dr. Keroack.
Honoring the History of Mary Lane
Molly Gray, MS, RN, NE-BC, president and chief administrative officer, Baystate Health Eastern Region, noted as care is transitioned, the history of Baystate Mary Lane and those who made it possible will be remembered and honored.
“We will honor the history of Baystate Mary Lane and those who made it possible and are evaluating opportunities to provide appropriate recognition to our legacy donors and others. In recognition of the current state and structural needs of the facility and lack of market demand, Baystate Health will invest in the demolition of the building and will be gifting the green space to the town of Ware, which will decide the best future use of the site,” said Gray.
“We will honor Baystate Mary’s Lane’s proud history and recognize the personal impact it has had on so many in the community. We thank our entire Baystate Mary Lane team for their outstanding contributions to our patients and the community we serve. We look forward to the future, meeting the needs of our patients, and delivering on our promise of advancing care and enhancing lives for our Eastern Region community,” she added.
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