MetroWest Medical Center to close nearly all services at Natick campus

Posted on: Thursday, January 23, 2020 By: KorchekStaff

MetroWest Medical Center plans to close nearly all services at one of its two hospitals, according to documents the hospital filed with the state on Tuesday. 

According to the notice, MetroWest plans to shutter its medical/surgical unit, intensive care unit, operating rooms, emergency department, and outpatient rehabilitation service at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, which has been in operation for more than 125 years. Psychiatric service, sleep labs, and CT services are the only services that will remain on the campus. 

The hospital, which was founded in 1893, said in its filing that it would submit a formal proposal with the state on Feb. 20, kicking off a 90-day notice of its closure. 

Hospital officials did not immediately return calls for comment. 

The notice sparked immediate uproar from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which has 189 member nurses at the hospital. According to the union, the closure would not only threaten half of the nurses’ jobs, but would also worsen health care in the region.

We are opposed to this closing as it will impact the safety of residents of the Greater Natick region, and result in the added stress to an already overburdened health care system in the region,” said David Schildmeier, a spokesman for the union. “This will no doubt result in longer wait times for patients in the Framingham Union emergency department and in dangerous delays for patients in need of ICU and inpatient care.”

Though Schildmeier applauded the decision to retain behavioral health services at the Natick facility, he said the program would be compromised by not having an adequate emergency department to help care for patients in a crisis.

“Our organization will be working with local public officials, community groups and local residents to mobilize opposition to this shortsighted and dangerous decision and will be presenting that opposition at the public hearing that DPH will be holding for the community to determine if these are essential services for the health of the community,” he said.

MetroWest, which includes Framingham Union Hospital as well as the hospital in Natick, is one of the state’s few for-profit institutions and also one of the few to be operated by an out of state parent company. The health system is owned by Texas-based Tenet HealthCare (NYSE: THC), which also owns Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester.