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Expansion, acquisition by Baystate Health approved

Public health officials approved plans Wednesday that will allow Western Massachusetts’ dominant health care system to upgrade facilities and add another community hospital to its network.

Springfield-based Baystate Health gained approval from the state Public Health Council to acquire Wing Memorial Hospital in Palmer from UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester. The systems signed a deal late last year to transfer ownership of the 74-bed hospital, which is twice as far from UMass Memorial’s main teaching hospital in Worcester as it is from Baystate’s main campus in Springfield.

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Baystate plans to expand the emergency room at Wing and send more specialists there.

“The Springfield facility is really crowded,” Dr. Mark A. Keroack, chief executive of Baystate Health, said in an interview. “We’re really trying to invest in our local community hospitals where the care quality is equivalent, the cost is far less, and the patient satisfaction is higher. Bringing Wing into the family allows us to do that.”

At Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, the health system plans to replace operating rooms from the 1970s with more modern and efficient facilities. The $23 million project will help recruit and retain physicians at the rural hospital, executives said.

The Public Health Council also gave Baystate permission to relocate and expand the pharmacy at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. The project is pegged at $7 million.

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.
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