New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston this week will unveil a corporate reorganization that puts a new parent company in charge of its budding regional network.
Deaconess will become one of four subsidiary hospitals under the parent holding company, named Pathway Health Network.
A fifth hospital, WalthamWeston Hospital and Medical Center, last month agreed to join the network. The Waltham, Mass., facility is expected to become a subsidiary by Jan. 1, 1995, said J. Richard Gaintner, M.D., Pathway's president and chief executive officer.
The network also includes Deaconess Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, Mass.; New England Baptist Hospital, Boston; Deaconess Glover Hospital, Needham, Mass.; and a 200-physician multispecialty practice based at New England Deaconess. Deaconess Nashoba joined the network in January 1993. New England Baptist and Deaconess Glover joined July 1.
The Boston area has undergone rapid consolidation and network building during the past year. They've been fueled by a managed-care penetration in Massachusetts approaching 40% and sparked by the affiliation of tertiary-care giants Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
But Dr. Gaintner said the Deaconess-led network was conceived five years ago on the premise that community hospitals and their physicians would be the focus of health services.
"This is not a strategy developed in any reaction to what's going on (in the current healthcare market)," he said.
To keep primary-care delivery at the local level, community hospitals in the network will retain their boards and management, while other operations may be centralized where appropriate, Dr. Gaintner said.
The New England Deaconess hospital board and parent-company board had been composed of the same members, but the reorganization ends that overlap. Some members will remain with the hospital's board while others will join the new Pathway board along with representatives from the other operating units, a spokeswoman said.