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State OK’s two-hospital alliance

State regulators have approved­ a strategic alliance proposed in August between the 153-bed Heywood Hospital in Gardner and the 25-bed Athol-Memorial Hospital, a deal that unites a pair of community hospitals serving 15 rural towns in North-Central Massachusetts.

The hospitals said Thursday that they received the OK from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the state attorney general’s office­ to move forward with their alliance.

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Under the agreement, the two hospitals will be governed by a parent company called North Central Healthcare, with Heywood’s chief executive, Winfield S. Brown, serving as CEO of the parent organization.

North Central Healthcare will have a board of directors drawn from the boards of Heywood and Athol-Memorial and will handle capital spending for both hospitals.

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