2011 News

Salem News Editorial Highlights Nurses Effort to Win Successor Language

06.24.2011

Our view: Deal for sale of Beverly Hospital can wait

Word that any decision regarding a sale or merger of Northeast Health System — including Beverly Hospital and Gloucester's Addison Gilbert Hospital — to or with one of four larger corporations has now been pushed back to September is good news on several fronts.

It gives those on the North Shore and Cape Ann more time to assess and gather information regarding the area's health care needs and how they might best be met. There are many complex issues in play here that should be addressed before any agreement is finalized.

In May, Northeast CEO Ken Hanover had indicated that a decision regarding an agreement would be expected by the end of June. Reported as serious bidders have been nonprofits Lahey Clinic and Beth Israel Deaconess, along with for-profit companies Steward Health Care and Vanguard.

Some sort of deal is still regarded as inevitable, but it's good to see Hanover and the Northeast board taking the time to examine carefully the pluses and minuses of each suitor.

For example, any acquisition of nonprofit Northeast by a for-profit company would require a review by the state attorney general's office. Also in question is the status of Northeast contracts, brought to the forefront recently when nurses at Addison Gilbert and Beverly hospitals took to the streets with informational picketing urging current management to ensure proper "successor language" in any merger or sale deal.

As we've noted previously, the primary consideration for the Northeast trustees should be how any deal can continue to provide the best possible health care for families on the North Shore who have come to rely on these beloved institutions.

It's heartening that Northeast, unlike some other hospitals put on the block recently, is not facing strict time deadlines and isn't financially desperate for a deal.

A move to a potential September decision would indicate that Northeast officials are wisely giving all of this deal the due time and consideration it requires.

FPO