The article about Partners HealthCare in Sunday’s Globe glosses over the very real and substantial community benefit commitments they have made in many of the communities they serve. Lynn residents have benefited tremendously from the involvement of Partners and North Shore Medical Center in the development of community based health services in the historically underserved downtown area. Over the past ten years they have invested almost $15 million in the Lynn Community Health Center. Funds from Partners and NSMC helped the health center to establish a Walk-In Clinic, which now provides 16,000 medical visits each year and to develop innovative approaches to reducing unnecessary ER utilization. They have helped the health center recruit 10 new primary care physicians who now provide care to low income people in our community, supported the development of needed specialty care at the health center, and funded several key public health initiatives.
The ongoing collaboration by the health center, NSMC and Partners in improving access to care is transforming the way health care is delivered in Lynn and substantially reducing overall costs. This kind of collaboration is needed in every community and should be lauded as a model for others.
I served on the Attorney General’s Task Force on Community Benefits last year and had an opportunity to review the community benefits work done by all of the hospitals in the Commonwealth. During 2007, the same year that the Globe article highlights, Partners’ community benefits work was by far the most consistent with the goal of encouraging hospitals to collaborate effectively with community stakeholders to improve the health care of the communities they serve. The amount of money spent does not always tell the whole story, particularly for a number of other hospitals who had “gamed” the system by including hospital public relations expenditures in their community benefits reporting. The Attorney General’s new guidelines are based, in large part, on the kind of work done by Partners HealthCare in the low-income communities they serve.
In our experience in Lynn, Partners is a creative, collaborative and generous community partner.
Lori Abrams Berry
Lynn Community Health Center
This program aired on June 1, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.