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Union Hospital may become a ‘medical village.’ Here’s what that means.

An artist's rendering of the proposed medical village on the grounds of Union Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Julie Pasquarosa)

LYNN — Residents are invited to learn more about the $23 million future medical village planned for the Union Hospital campus at an upcoming North Shore Medical Center community forum.

The forum will be Tuesday, Feb. 6 from 6-8 p.m. at Knights of Columbus Hall, at 177 Lynnfield St.

The Department of Public Health approved a $180 million expansion of North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) in 2016, that will close Union and move the beds to a new Salem campus in 2019. The medical facilities in Lynn and Salem are part of Partners Healthcare.

The 37,000 square-foot, $23 million facility, or medical village, will offer urgent care, basic lab and radiology services, outpatient psychiatry services and an expanded home for the North Shore Physicians Group Lynn primary and specialty care practice currently located in the West Medical Building on the Union campus, according to Laura Fleming, a spokeswoman for North Shore Medical Center.

Fleming said plans are to open the medical village in the fall of 2019 at the same time construction is completed and acute care services are consolidated in Salem.

“Because the medical village will only require about a quarter of the 20-acre Union campus property, we are currently working with Lynn city leaders on a plan to sell the remainder for development,” Fleming said.

Fleming said the medical village is the result of nearly two years of meetings between North Shore Medical Center, Lynn elected officials, healthcare advocates and the public to develop a plan to meet the long-term urgent/emergent health care needs of Lynn residents after Union Hospital closes and consolidates with Salem Hospital.

“We have enjoyed working with local residents and advocates and believe we have a plan that will enable many community members to continue to access the care they use most — primary care, specialty doctor visits, urgent care, lab tests and the like — on the Union campus for many years to come,” Fleming said.

The closure of Union Hospital has been a contentious issue in the city, with residents insisting that a city of 92,000 should have its own hospital and not have to travel to Salem for care.

Dr. David J. Roberts, NSMC’s president, made the case for closing the facility by citing data that only 14 percent of the Union patients seen in 2015 needed critical care such as treatment for a heart attack or stroke. Another 31 percent of the patients could have been seen at so-called Minute Clinics operated by retailers for minor complaints such as sore throats, he said.

Residents are also invited at the forum to participate in a community health needs assessment to identify health priorities for Lynn and the North Shore, according to a flyer for the forum.

“We will be kicking off the process for conducting our community health needs assessment and hope that many local residents will join in this important discussion to identify health priorities for our community,” Fleming said.

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