FRAMINGHAM – The MetroWest Medical Center Board of Trustees voted unanimously not to support Tenet Healthcare’s decision to close Framingham Hospital’s oncology wards on Tuesday evening, April 26.
The vote was unanimous.
The motion was brought forward by council member Michael Herbert, according to several council members. Herbert is also the City Manager of Ashland.
On On April 13, SOURCE announced that Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare plans to close oncology wards at MetroWest Medical Center and refer its cancer center patients to its sister hospital in Worcester – St. VincentHospital.
The board held its first meeting since the announcement on Tuesday. The MetroWest Medical Center “Board of Directors” provides local guidance to advance the quality and services of health care at MetroWest Medical Center. The council is made up of representatives of local organizations as well as doctors.
The Chair of the Board was Lisa Sotir MD
Other board members are Katherine Hein, MD, Prashant Kulkami, Joseph Corazzini, Katherine Garrahan, Tammy Harris, MD, and Steven Spiegel, MD
The ex-officio members are Anatoly (Tony) Sukharsky, MD and Basava Vallabaneni, MD
MetroWest Medical Center CEO Ava Collins attended the board meeting.
After the announcement of the closure of oncology services, Collins announced his resignation. SOURCE was the first outlet to report the news.
MetroWest Medical Center/Tenet Healthcare has filed a request with the state to shut down oncology services.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will have to hold a hearing on the shutdown.
The Framingham Union Hospital/MetroWest Medical Center Medical Executive Committee does not support Tenet Healthcare’s decision to close outpatient medical oncology and radiation oncology at MetroWest Medical Center.
Senate Speaker Karen Spilka and City of Framingham Mayor Charlie Sisitsky have been very strong against the shutdown.
Just like State Representative Danielle Gregoire.
“I am disappointed to learn that Tenet plans to close its outpatient cancer treatment center at MetroWest Medical Center. This decision, which may ultimately keep the rest of the hospital services open at this location, will have a negative impact about area residents going through something most of us can’t even begin to imagine,’ said Rep. Gregoire, who represents part of Framingham under redistricting.
“I have contacted the Department of Public Health to inquire if a staff, patient or community appeal is feasible, but have been told that is not the case. I am proud of the efforts made in November by the MA House of Representatives to pass legislation to ensure that private hospitals are subject to significantly increased scrutiny so that closures like this do not occur in the future,” Rep. Gregoire said, which represents the 4th district of Middlesex.
On Monday, April 25, Senate Speaker Spilka, Mayor Sisitsky, and Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis had a private call with Tenet of Massachusetts CEO Carolyn Jackson.
Mayor Sisitsky said Jackson insisted the closure of oncology wards was not a measure of “cost cutting.” The mayor said Jackson told the group there were plenty of places near Framingham where cancer patients could receive treatment.
Mayor Sisitsky told SOURCE he was unhappy with this response.
Mayor Sisitsky said there are cancer patients in Framingham who do not have transport to Worcester or other places of treatment. And he added that some could not afford transport to treatment outside Framingham.
A hearing date on the oncology ward closures has yet to be set by the state.
Senate Speaker Spilka’s office released this statement after Monday’s meeting “It was a productive meeting during which they discussed many issues important to MetroWest residents.”
Mayor Sisitsky said he stressed the need for the hospital to once again have a community liaison with the city and the community.
Last week, for three consecutive days, MetroWest Medical Center diverted ambulances from the hospital for several hours, and at one point for 10 hours.due to a “cyberattack” which notified the local fire departments and due to “computer” and “software” issues which they notified the mayor and the president of the Senate.
The “code black” ambulance diversion of patients was against state rules, and the Commonwealth told MetroWest Medical Center last week that it must stop the diversion of ambulances to its emergency room and accept patients , said the mayor.
This afternoon, April 28 at 2 p.m., Rep. Lewis released his first public statement about the closure of oncology wards.
SOURCE announced on April 13 that the oncology ward was closing and requested a statement on April 13. The state representative did not respond.
Today he posted: ‘The Framingham Legislative Delegation has heard concerns expressed by many residents that Tenet’s proposed closure of the medical and radiation oncology programs at Framingham Union Hospital will negatively impact the residents, including those who cannot access life-saving care outside of our region. We share this concern. As a private, for-profit hospital, there is unfortunately no appeal process for Tenet’s decision, but the state offers a formal process to review the proposed closure plan and explore mitigation strategies. possible. This will give residents an opportunity to have their voices heard, and we strongly encourage you to be part of this process. Although the formal hearing and review process has not yet begun, we invite you to send your concerns in the form of written testimony to [email protected] today. Please use “Proposal for Oncology Closure at MetroWest Medical Center” in your subject line, so that your emails can be more easily identified.
Priscila Sousa, school committee chair and candidate for state representation from Middlesex’s 6th District, wrote an op-ed objecting to the closure and the decision to eliminate in-person interpreters.
She wrote “I am outraged by their decision to eliminate in-person interpretation services at the hospital. In a community where 40% of residents, including 50.5% of our students, do not speak English as their first language, not having this service is unacceptable. Our immigrant community, which includes our taxpayers, business owners, and neighbors, is growing and has an ongoing need for health care services. Health care services that require the ability to speak freely with their health professionals, as many of us do. They deserve the same level of care. Imagine facing a health crisis and not being able to communicate clearly with your doctors and nurses. Instead of having an in-person interpreter, you are given a phone to speak to someone in another city with your concerns. A phone call where facial expressions, pointing to a body part that hurts and nuance can be lost. How scary. How impersonal. How potentially dangerous.
“Close the oncology center and moving patients to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester might make sense for a Texas-based company, but it greatly affects those seeking cancer care in Framingham Union. For those who don’t have access to a car or travel long distances, getting treatment at our local hospital is life-saving. We talk about the lives of our neighbors – not just a few numbers in a budget. They are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles and aunts, friends and colleagues. It’s you and me,” Sousa wrote.