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MGH, NSMC hold groundbreaking for Danvers outpatient care center

DANVERS – The old adage that a business without a sign is a sign of no business wasn’t lost on Bob Norton, president of North Shore Medical Center (NSMC).”When I asked for a sign that could be seen from the highway, I didn’t mean the highway in New Hampshire,” said Norton, eliciting plenty of laughter among the nearly 200 dignitaries and guests gathered beneath a white tent Tuesday morning for the groundbreaking of a $122-million out-patient care center.The new medical facility at 100 Endicott St. on the site of the former Osram-Sylvania lighting factory is the result of collaboration between NSMC, Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and its corporate parent, Partners HealthCare System. The temporary sign draped across an existing building at the site appears half the length of a football field and announces the project to passersby in giant letters. There’s no missing it.To highlight the event, representatives from each healthcare organization along with major donors and key members of the design and construction team put their signatures on a white-painted steel construction beam. Just outside the tent, work crews poured cement footings to support the planned structures – a 122,000-square foot outpatient facility and an 80,000-square-foot medical office building.The Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care, overlooking Route 128 and the Danvers River with its adjacent salt marsh, will occupy only a fraction of the 41 acres. Patients undergoing cancer treatments can enjoy the healing view.The facility will provide cardiac diagnostics, suites for minimally-invasive surgery, and advanced imaging services, as well as serve as the expanded home of the new MGH-NSMC Cancer Center, a combined oncology program. All resources from the present NSMC Cancer Center in Peabody will be relocated to the Danvers facility.”The medical community is moving rapidly to an outpatient setting,” said Norton, noting that the ambulatory care center is the culmination of countless hours of planning that involved hundreds of people in many different fields of expertise, as well as patients and their families. “This will be the most comprehensive ambulatory medical facility on the North Shore.”Other speakers included Dr. James J. Mongan, president and chief executive of Partners HealthCare; Dr. Peter L. Slavin, president and chief executive of Massachusetts General Hospital; Dr. David Torchiana, chairman and chief executive of the Massachusetts General Physicians’ Organization; Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, and patient spokesperson Jennifer Flanagan.Flanagan, a Marblehead resident diagnosed with cancer a year ago, delivered a personal testimonial to the world-class medical care she received from four teams of specialists in four different facilities within the MGH/NSMC system. “The collaboration was the gold standard of communication. And darn convenient,” she said, referring to the proximity of the Peabody cancer center to her North Shore home. She had to endure 35 visits for treatment.If the Peabody facility didn’t exist, she would have been forced to drive into Boston. “They were also enormously compassionate,” she said.Slavin noted the new facility is strategically positioned since the demand for out-patient services is forecast to increase by 15 percent over the next few years.Three donors were recognized at the ceremony for their separate contributions of $1 million – the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation in honor of former Bank President Stanley Lukowski, Arthur Epstein and family, and the Lillian and Morton Waldfogel Charitable Foundation.The medical center is scheduled for completion in spring 2009.

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