LOWELL, Mass.—Saints Medical Center, which announced plans to be acquired by Steward Health Care System this year, instead signed a memorandum of understanding to affiliate with Lowell (Mass.) General Hospital. Steward and Saints Medical Center said in an Oct. 6 joint release that the two organizations “mutually decided to end discussions that would have resulted in Saints becoming part of Steward.” The affiliation between Saints Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital was also announced Oct. 6. Saints, a 104-bed hospital, initiated affiliation discussions with 187-bed Lowell after Steward and Saints agreed to terminate the agreement. Stephen Guimond, president and CEO of Saints, said in a news release that the affiliation “meets the needs of Saints for a strong financial partner and one that also respects the mission of the hospital.” Lowell Board of Trustees Chair Margaret Palm said the affiliation “ensures continued local control” of the two hospitals. Boston-based Steward and Saints said they had reached a definitive agreement for Steward to acquire Saints in July. Steward was expected to invest $5 million for capital needs and 35 million over five years, as well as take on $48 million in outstanding debt and $15 million in unfunded pension liabilities.
Regional News/Northeast: Saints Medical Center to affiliate with Lowell (Ma.) General Hospital, and other news
HARRISBURG, Pa.—Pennsylvania hospitals have continued to make headway in their efforts to curb rates of healthcare-associated infections, according to a report from the state's health department. Hospitals' overall rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections dropped more than 24%, when compared with data from 2009. And statewide, the number of catheter-associated urinary-tract infections in hospitals fell 13% from 3,733 reported in 2009 to 3,245 in 2010. “The findings in this report signify Pennsylvania's ability to maintain and improve upon quality healthcare for its citizens,” Dr. Eli Avila, Pennsylvania's secretary of health, said in a news release. The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania said the findings demonstrated that prevention initiatives have been successful. But the organization also warned that cuts to Medicare and Medicaid could slow improvement efforts and jeopardize patient safety. “As the congressional ‘supercommittee' gets to work this fall, it is imperative that members of the panel—and by extension all members of Congress—understand that ongoing clinical improvement requires adequate payments from government programs, which continue to pay hospitals less than the cost of care,” Carolyn Scanlan, HAP's president and CEO, said in a news release.
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