Hallmark Health System will become part of a larger hospital network on Jan. 1.
Hallmark’s board voted to authorize the deal Thursday, six months after the health system announced its plans to merge with Wellforce, the parent company of Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital.
Hallmark is a 368-bed system of two hospitals in Medford and Melrose. It has struggled in recent years to retain local patients who often choose to seek care at Boston hospitals a few miles away.
Hallmark and Wellforce executives said they hope to reverse that trend by boosting specialty services to attract more patients to the Hallmark hospitals. They said there were no immediate plans to cut jobs or hospital beds.
“We’ll be able to serve a larger patient base,” said Hallmark’s chief executive, Alan Macdonald. “They’ve chosen in the past to go other places for medical services. As we continue to develop our skills in many different areas, we hope they’ll find it convenient and close to home [to come here].”
Wellforce chief executive Normand E. Deschene said together, the Wellforce hospitals will be able to save money on purchasing medical supplies and medications. Because of their combined size, they also will be able to borrow money for capital projects more easily, he said.
Hallmark has long been affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital and previously planned to be acquired by Mass. General’s parent company, Partners HealthCare. After those plans fell apart, Hallmark linked up with Wellforce. The deal is expected to result in Hallmark doctors referring more patients to Tufts Medical Center instead of Mass. General for complex care.
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