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A Powerful Partnership

Baystate, MassMutual Collaborate on New Community Health Center

From left: LaMar Cook and Kristen Elechko from Gov. Maura Healey’s Western Mass. office; Roger Crandall, chairman, president, and CEO of MassMutual; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; Baystate Health trustee Denise Jordan, executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority; Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack; and Harriet DeVerry, chair of the Baystate Health board of trustees.

 

On May 21, in an effort to improve health equity and meet the growing needs of the Springfield community, Baystate Health announced a plan to build a comprehensive community health center in the heart of the city, made possible by the support of its longstanding partner, MassMutual.

MassMutual is donating approximately 10 acres of land valued at an estimated $5 million in the southeast corner of its Springfield campus, as well as providing financing and other support for the project. In addition, the MassMutual Foundation is donating $5 million over five years to support the new, state-of-the-art health center that will be owned and operated by Baystate Health. The expected total cost for the project is $45 million to $50 million.

The proposed 90,000-square-foot community health center, which will be accessible at the intersection of Wilbraham Road and Alden Street, will centralize services, creating a medical neighborhood caring for children, families, and adults and providing comprehensive primary care, integrated behavioral health, and ancillary services for the Greater Springfield area. The new center will have greater access by public transportation, ample free parking, and easy access from major thoroughfares.

Prior to conveyance to the Baystate Health Foundation, MassMutual will clear the site of the existing buildings, and the lot will be subdivided into its own parcel, separate from MassMutual’s headquarters. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2025 and be completed in 2027.

“Thanks to the generous donations and substantial support provided by MassMutual and the MassMutual Foundation, Baystate Health’s vision to create a comprehensive, integrated community health and wellness center to serve the most vulnerable populations in Greater Springfield can advance toward realization.”

“Thanks to the generous donations and substantial support provided by MassMutual and the MassMutual Foundation, Baystate Health’s vision to create a comprehensive, integrated community health and wellness center to serve the most vulnerable populations in Greater Springfield can advance toward realization,” Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack said.

With the new community health center and wellness hub in place, Baystate Health will consolidate services from four of its existing Springfield health centers to the new building, where they will continue to provide services, plus more, for adult and pediatric patients at the new location. These centers will remain open and fully functional until their services can be transitioned to the new health center, and Baystate Health is committed to engaging the community and local leaders during the planning phase of the project.

The centers and their services that will be transitioned to the future Wilbraham Road location include Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center, Baystate High Street Health Center, Baystate High Street Pediatrics, and Wesson Women’s Clinic.

Roger Crandall

Roger Crandall says MassMutual and Baystate Health have long been committed to each other’s success.

These existing community-based facilities are limited in size and scope with many infrastructure challenges that require significant upgrading and capital investment to allow for growth and expansion of services. The new center will provide Baystate Health with a state-of-the-art, modern facility to provide robust care for patients as well as attract top providers.

“We intend to co-locate four of our existing Springfield community health centers into a larger, modern facility to create this unified healthcare delivery wellness hub,” Keroack said. “Several convergent factors have informed our vision. The positive outcomes we have demonstrated in our Medicaid accountable care organization, involving more than 50,000 of the region’s most underserved patients, have provided value to this population, improved health, and allowed us to begin to address health disparities and inequities. We could not do this without the generosity of MassMutual and the MassMutual Foundation.”

In addition to MassMutual’s support, the project will also benefit from some expected state and federal grants. The land that will be donated to Baystate Health represents roughly 10% of MassMutual’s approximately 100-acre Springfield campus. The company’s move toward digitization and bringing its employees together in its iconic main office building on State Street has left a portion of its property underutilized, including two vacant buildings. Rather than leave this space unused, the company wanted to find a better, more long-term meaningful use for the land, one that would serve the community MassMutual has called home since 1851.

“Throughout our long histories in Springfield, both MassMutual and Baystate have had an enduring commitment to each other’s success as we’ve worked toward our own respective, yet similar pursuits, helping people live better, more fulfilling lives,” said Roger Crandall, chairman, president, and CEO of MassMutual. “We are incredibly proud that a portion of our property will serve a more meaningful purpose and a greater good, expanding access to high-quality medical care to improve the health and well-being of our community for generations to come.”

“We are incredibly proud that a portion of our property will serve a more meaningful purpose and a greater good, expanding access to high-quality medical care to improve the health and well-being of our community for generations to come.”

Combined, the four existing community health centers planned for the move currently serve 125,000 patient visits annually. In the envisioned community health center campus on the land to be donated by MassMutual, Baystate Health expects patient visits to increase to 145,000 annually by 2028.

As two of the area’s largest organizations, MassMutual and Baystate Health have come together to support the Springfield community before. A few examples include:

• Baystate Health’s role in the MassMutual Foundation’s work in the North End of Springfield focused on bringing together residents, service providers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to identify and prioritize removal of barriers to community financial well-being for the neighborhood’s residents;

• MassMutual and Baystate Health’s support of the Alliance for Digital Equity, a regional coalition of community-focused organizations working toward digital equity for all people;

• MassMutual’s $3 million donation to help Baystate Health fund its Hospital of the Future expansion; and

• MassMutual’s donation of medical supplies to Baystate Health and redeployment of Springfield-based health professionals working in MassMutual’s Wellness Center to serve broader community needs in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Two titans of their industries once again come together for the betterment of our Springfield community to continue to proactively facilitate good health outcomes, especially when dealing with mental-health situations,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said of the community health center, the organizations’ newest collaboration. “My administration was proud to support this health initiative with nearly $1 million in ARPA funding.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD – Baystate Health will offer a free virtual information session entitled “Positive COVID-19 Test, Now What?” on Tuesday, 6-7 p.m.

 

The event will be led by Dr. Armando Paez, chief, Infectious Disease Division, Baystate Health, and Dr. Amanda Westlake, Infectious Disease Division and Division of General Medicine and Community Health, Baystate Health, who will discuss the latest COVID-19 oral antiviral pill Paxlovid.

 

As more people continue to test positive for COVID-19 and its variants locally and across the country, Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill, introduced on the market in December 2021, is fast becoming the treatment of choice, which some have referred to as the antiviral pill offering hope for “zero COVID deaths.”  Paxlovid is now available, via prescription, at most local pharmacies. It is a safe and effective treatment and must be taken within the first 5 days of testing positive for COVID-19.

There will be time for questions and answers. To register, visit BaystateHealth.org/CovidPositive.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD Joanne Miller, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, who has more than 30 years of hospital operations experience and nursing excellence, has been named chief nursing executive for Baystate Health and chief nursing officer for Baystate Medical Center. 

Miller’s appointment, which becomes effective on May 29, follows a nationwide search during which time she served as interim chief nursing Officer for Baystate Medical Center since July 12, 2021. 

“During her time as interim chief nursing officer, Joanne has proven to be a dynamic leader supporting our caregivers as they have continued to provide exceptional care during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Marion McGowan, BSN, MPM, PhD, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Baystate Health.  

For 20 years, Miller — who began her career as an oncology nurse — has served in various positions throughout the country, including senior vice president, Patient Care Services; vice president, Surgical Services; chief nursing officer and interim CEO in both major academic health systems and community-based hospitals. 

Prior to serving as Baystate Medical Center’s Interim Chief Nursing Officer, Miller served as chief nursing executive at Carson Tahoe Health System in Nevada and interim CEO and chief nursing officer at Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Fla. Prior to Jupiter Medical Center, she served as CNO and VP of Patient Care Services for Johns Hopkins Medicine/Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. At Sibley, she led the development, implementation and evaluation of nursing practice and patient care standards across the acute care hospital, ambulatory sites and its skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. She led the Nursing Quality Clinical Community for the Johns Hopkins Health System.  

Miller holds a doctor of Executive Nursing Practice from Drexel University, a master’s degree in Nursing Administration from the University of Hartford, and a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Mount Saint Mary College. She is a Malcom Baldridge Executive Fellow. 

Health Care

Healthy Development

Baystate Health & Wellness Center in Longmeadow held a grand-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 25. The $11 million, 54,000-square-foot medical office building offers primary and specialty care, as well as services like Baystate Reference Laboratories and Baystate Radiology and Imaging.

State legislators present Baystate leaders, including President and CEO Mark Keroack (center), citations on the grand-opening occasion

State Sen. Eric Lesser and Keroack share a moment before the event

State Sen. Eric Lesser and Keroack share a moment before the event

The ribbon-cutting ceremony

The ribbon-cutting ceremony

Dr. Elizabeth Boyle chats with state Rep. Angelo Puppolo

Dr. Elizabeth Boyle chats with state Rep. Angelo Puppolo

The back entrance to the new facility at 21 Dwight Road