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Medical Department Changes Affiliation

By Eva Moy
Staff Reporter

Starting next year, the MIT Medical Department will change its hospital affiliation from Mount Auburn Hospital to the Partners Health Care System.

This change, decided by the MIT Medical Management Board last month, affects only medical referrals and emergency services, according to Director Arnold N. Weinberg. The board is responsible for deciding general policies for the medical department. The sub-specialities within the Medical Center will not change.

Partners provides MIT with a health care network that gives access to a full-service hospital, as well as access to physician groups in the greater Boston area, Weinberg said.

Approximately 200 people per year are referred outside of the Medical Center for medical treatment or surgery, Weinberg said. Another 200 per year use the hospitals for obstetrics.

The doctor-patient relationship is very important in some plans of treatment, and it would "not serve the patient's need if they moved somewhere else," Weinberg said. In those cases, the treatment will not automatically be transferred on Jan. 1.

Partners better serves suburbs

The Partners Health Care System includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, as well as many physician groups in the greater Boston area.

"This move is not because we have not gotten excellent, humane service at Mount Auburn Hospital," said Weinberg. MIT has had a "totally informal but solid relationship with Mount Auburn for 20 years."

Weinberg informed Mount Auburn Chief Executive Officer Francis Lynch the day after MIT made its decision. "He was disappointed," Weinberg said. "But he also understood [our need to] avail ourselves of a more robust health care system."

MIT will continue to use Children's Hospital for pediatric admissions and McLean Hospital for psychiatric admissions.

The Institute would also have access to other groups such as the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, which are currently considering joining the Partners system.

The entire network covers towns as far as Cape Ann, Salem, Weston, and Dedham, where many MIT staff and faculty live.

Weinberg hopes this wider network will encourage more employees to choose the MIT health plan.

MGH is closer to campus

MGH is more easily accessible from campus than Mount Auburn Hospital, located on Mount Auburn Street near Harvard Square.

While Mount Auburn takes 15 minutes and about $8 by taxi, MGH takes 5 minutes and about $3 by taxi, Weinberg said.

In addition, MGHis only one stop from campus via the MBTA Red Line, Weinberg said. This is convenient for both patients and doctors, he added.

If a member of the MIT health plan has a medical emergency, it is preferred that they go to MGH for treatment, Weinberg said. Of course, people with acute medical emergencies still go to their nearest hospital.

If a person is not sure of his condition, he should call or visit the Medical Center first for a diagnosis. The Campus Police will transport members living on campus, and MIT will pay for a taxi for those living off campus, Weinberg said.

MIT is currently negotiating with Partners for budgetary relief. MIT is receiving "a very good break on the rates we are charged," Weinberg said. This is due to the exclusive use of Partners, the characteristic mix of patients who are referred, and MIT's ability to receive patients in its in-patient unit after hospitalization.