Defending Union Hospital

Council to ask AG to probe Partners – News – Daily Item

Council to ask AG to probe Partners

1 image Photo / Paula Muller

State Rep. Donald Wong speaks at a Tuesday City Council hearing in which the council voted to ask State Attorney General Maura Healey to investigate a plan by Partners HealthCare that would strip Union Hospital of most of its facilities

Posted 7 hours ago

LYNN — The City Council, after a public hearing that lasted for more than an hour, voted Tuesday night to ask State Attorney General Maura Healey to investigate a plan by Partners HealthCare that would strip Union Hospital of most of its facilities, leaving the Lynnfield Street campus with outpatient clinics and doctors’ offices.

The plan, released June 30, would transfer all inpatient care to Salem Hospital, also part of the North Shore Medical Center owned by Partners.

At a crowded City Hall chamber, several politicians and citizens spoke against Partners’ plan.

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, one of the first to speak, said that she had been attending ongoing meetings with NSMC President Robert Norton and is fully committed to standing by the community. She said the message, “We need our full-service hospital,” has been echoed throughout meetings and has never changed its focus.

“We all know what it is like to fight through Wyoma Square during rush hour or during school hours,” she said. “Now imagine what it would be like if there was an emergency. We are calling on Partners and North Shore Medical Center to listen to our residents about needing this hospital.”

Many bemoaned the distance some in Lynn and beyond would have to travel to get to Salem, as opposed to Union.

In an emergency situation, a matter of life or death, no one should have to struggle to get the proper medical care, they said.

State Rep. Donald Wong, who represents a sliver of Lynn as well as all of Saugus and has opposed the plan from the beginning, said the state delegation is very concerned about the closure of Union Hospital because it is threatening the safety and well-being of lives across the North Shore.

“The quality of life for Lynn is being put at risk if Partners’ plans to close Union come to fruition,” Wong said.

The hearing, a vital part of the rally against Partners’ plans, came about thanks to a petition that circulated throughout Lynn.

Donna Kelly Williams, a registered nurse and president of the Massachusetts Nursing Association, expressed her disgust in the planned closing of Union, saying there is “no practical justification for the closing of these services.”

Joy McNaughton, a nurse at Union, explained that staff members are “truly committed to being able to take care of the people that come to this hospital.”

Union will not close if there are honest intentions in providing “health care and what care means” to the communities, she said.

Former Lynn City Council president Timothy Phelan, a candidate for council re-election, argued strongly against Partners’ plans.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

Also speaking out against the plan was Katerina Panagiotakis, who has been a visible opponent of Partners since it announced a plan last year that would have diminished Union’s role as a full-service hospital.

The safety of communities needs to be ensured, she said, and “there needs to be access to life-saving centers” in Lynn.

The body acted unanimously on Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi’s motion, seconded by Ward 3’s Darren Cyr, to ask the attorney general to investigate.

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