Massachusetts General Hospital and Wentworth-Douglass Health System (WDHS) today announce a new clinical affiliation agreement that will increase the availability and accessibility of comprehensive, tertiary health care services on the New Hampshire Seacoast. The agreement identifies Wentworth-Douglass Health System (WDHS) as the Primary Clinical Affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital on the New Hampshire Seacoast.
The burgeoning relationship between the two institutions began in 2008 to develop multiple centers of excellence. The new clinical affiliation agreement, approved last month by the WDHS Board of Directors, combines the expertise of the two hospitals, offering patients greater access to a broader range of clinical services and specialty care, ranging from the routine to the very complex.
“Mass General and Wentworth-Douglass have had a successful working relationship the past five years. It is that success and the changing needs of health care along the Seacoast that have inspired this expanded relationship,” says Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Mass General. “We welcome this opportunity to further our clinical efforts with the Wentworth-Douglass community.”
The clinical affiliation agreement includes the creation of a joint executive committee and a shared director to oversee daily operations. Several new clinically affiliated programs will be developed, including surgical services, cardiovascular services, digestive health, neuroscience/neurosurgery, population health management and oncology services.
WDHS President & CEO Gregory Walker, FACHE, describes the clinical affiliation with Mass General as an important component of the hospital’s efforts to give patients a wider range of expert care in their home community.
“I believe our strong focus on quality coupled with Mass General’s ability to connect to scientific research and clinical breakthroughs help us deliver exceptional care for Wentworth-Douglass patients,” Walker says. “We’ve already seen the multiple benefits of this relationship in the areas of gynecologic oncology, trauma and stroke.”
The relationship between the two hospitals began with the implementation of Mass General’s TeleStroke program at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (WDH) and a joint initiative to improve the timeliness and quality of care for stroke patients. The success of the initiative led to WDH’s certification by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center in 2012 – the first NH hospital to receive this designation.
The second endeavor brought the expertise of John Schorge, MD, chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Mass General, to WDH to lead the development of the Seacoast Cancer Center’s Gynecologic Oncology Program. For the first time, women with ovarian and other gynecologic cancers have the option of advanced subspecialty care at their community hospital including complex, minimally invasive surgery.
Additionally, the clinical affiliation offers a Mass General certified genetics counselor to work with patients and their families to assess cancer risks. Psychiatric consultations may be arranged with Mass General experts in psychiatric oncology via telemedicine, which allows medical information to be exchanged through an electronic communication system.
Trauma and Acute Surgery Program:
WDH and Mass General Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Program is led by Mass General surgeon Peter S. Hedberg, MD. Hedberg is a member of the Seacoast General Surgery group in Dover and also serves as WDH’s director of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. The WDH relationship with Mass General provides the benefit of expanded access to the latest guidelines and protocols for trauma and acute care management.
Thoracic Surgery Program:
WDH’s clinical affiliation with Mass General supported the creation of the Wentworth Health Partners’ Thoracic Surgery Specialists practice, led by James Allan, MD, Mass General thoracic surgeon and Douglas Mathisen, MD, chief of Thoracic Surgery at Mass General. This team, along with Hedberg provides outpatient and peri-operative care for thoracic surgical patients receiving treatment at WDH.
The clinical affiliation agreement also facilitates the patient transfer process for highly complex surgeries that may require a team of specialists at the Mass General campus in Boston.
About Massachusetts General Hospital:
Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Mass General conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $775 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer,
imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In July 2012, Mass General moved into the number one spot on the 2012-13 U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Hospitals."
About Wentworth-Douglass Hospital:
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, founded in 1906, is one of the largest acute care hospitals in the seacoast region of New Hampshire and Southern Maine, specializing in trauma and emergency services, oncology, orthopedics, cardiovascular services, women & children’s services, minimally invasive surgery, rehabilitation, sleep disorders, pain management, wound healing and wellness programs plus extensive diagnostic services. The Hospital is part of the Wentworth-Douglass Health System, along with Wentworth Health Partners, the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital & Health Foundation and The Works Family Health & Fitness Center.