Delivering the Best Health Care to Massachusetts Communities

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Letter to the Editor logoAfter a year of heartache and frustration, the pandemic is almost behind us.

Of the lessons learned, perhaps the most important is that our health care system doesn’t have to be stuck in the mud. During the pandemic, we were able to provide routine and chronic care to patients through telemedicine on a massive scale including more than 1 million telehealth visits over five months’ time at Mass General Brigham alone.

We believe progress in digital health is just the beginning.

Boston has some of the best trained doctors and the most innovative, research-infused treatments in the world. Patients shouldn’t have to live in the city or fight through congested traffic to access them.

We have a plan to build an ambulatory care center in Westborough so we can provide care closer to patients’ homes and at a lower cost. We are currently awaiting approval from the Department of Public Health through its Determination of Need (DON) process.

By delivering primary care, behavioral and mental health care, and specialist care along with imaging and day surgery, this ambulatory center will lower costs and increase access to care closer to home. These centers will provide lower-cost options and improve overall health outcomes.

It’s clear these services are needed and wanted. More than 40,000 Mass General Brigham patients live within 20 minutes of Westborough and 71 percent of residents in the area support a Mass General Brigham facility.

Despite complaints from competitors, our proposal provides a clear benefit to our patients, and a lower overall cost structure. And with lower reimbursement rates than care delivered in hospitals, doctors will be able to charge lower prices and serve more people.

The pandemic proved we can deliver the right care, at the right time, in the right place, and at a lower cost. With the world’s greatest health care finally in our communities, we will be able to bring the best specialists, the best treatments, and the best services to anyone who needs them. It’s about time.

 

John Fernandez

President, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

President, Mass General Brigham Integrated Care