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The Boston Globe

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Plymouth’s Jordan Hospital to change its name

Jordan Hospital was named for a Plymouth summer resident, Eben Jordan, whose $20,000 gift was key to the founding of the seaside community’s hospital in 1901.

More than a century later, the 155-bed hospital will retire the name of its benefactor and become Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth when Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center formally takes over Jordan on Jan 1.

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Jordan’s chief executive, Peter Holden, said he realizes that will be a big adjustment for many in the sprawling town.

“There’s always that emotional attachment and that appreciation of the past,” Holden said. “But with everything Massachusetts and the country is undergoing in terms of health care reform, you’ve got to look ahead. We’re certainly looking to a better future with Beth Israel Deaconess than we’d have any right to expect on our own.”

The final regulatory approval for the takeover came Wednesday from the state Public Health Council, which unanimously granted a new license to Beth Israel Deaconess as sole corporate parent of the Plymouth hospital. Last month, the state Health Policy Commission, a watchdog panel dedicated to holding down medical costs, decided not to conduct a review of the merger.

Under a plan hammered out between Beth Israel Deaconess and Jordan executives, the Boston-based teaching hospital agreed to invest $2 million annually for the next five years — a total of $10 million — in capital improvements in Plymouth. They are expected to include a new emergency department and an interventional catheterization lab.

In addition, Beth Israel Deaconess plans to recruit 10 primary care physicians from the 12 towns in Plymouth and Barnstable counties served by Jordan. Those new doctors will be part of the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, known as BIDCO, a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians launched earlier this year to better coordinate medical care.

The chief executive of Beth Israel Deaconess, Kevin Tabb, said his system was extending a model established when it absorbed community hospitals in Needham and Milton.

“The strategy here at the medical center is to become a large system providing care to patients wherever they are and wherever they need it,” he said.

“Plymouth is a great community that we’re very excited to be in. Wherever we together find there are gaps, we’ll fill those gaps in the community. We need to come to the patient, and not bring the patient to us.”

Holden said that Jordan Hospital opted to take the new name based on the findings of a branding firm that canvassed about 450 area residents to determine what would resonate with patients.

He said that Jordan’s board, facing declining government reimbursements and needed investments, decided 18 months ago to seek a stronger partner. Working with a consulting firm, he said, it chose Beth Israel Deaconess from a half-dozen nonprofit and for-profit bidders.

“Beth Israel,” Holden said, “is a world-renowned academic medical center. It’s fueled by the Harvard School of Medicine, and the clinical and teaching resources that are up there are just phenomenal. Their response to every query is ‘What’s best for the people in your community?’ ’’

Holden, who has been Jordan’s president and chief executive for more than five years, said he has yet to discuss with Tabb whether he will remain in that post. “I expect at the appropriate time that Dr. Tabb and I will sit down, and I look forward to that,” he said.

Separately, he said, the Plymouth hospital is finalizing a related agreement to become a preferred hospital for Atrius Health, a Newton-based alliance of seven physician groups across Eastern and Central Massachusetts. Beth Israel Deaconess and Atrius are also in talks to merge with Lahey Health, the parent of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington.

Robert Weisman
can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.

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