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Mt. Auburn to Join with Medical

By Lauren E. LeBon

NEWS EDITOR

The obstetrics and gynecology department at MIT Medical will begin a partnership with Mount Auburn Hospital to alleviate financial pressures and staff shortages, said Dr. William M. Kettyle, medical director at MIT Medical.

The changes come as MIT Medical suffers from a large spending deficit that prompted a 60 percent increase in student health premiums in June.

Currently, the OB-GYN department faces a staff reduction, making it difficult for patients to schedule appointments, Kettyle said in a letter posted on the MIT medical Web site.

The department hopes to hire one doctor and one nurse practitioner by next month but even with the additions, there will be fewer doctors than before. However, the department hopes that eventually clinical care will become more accessible than before, Kettyle said.

Ellen Offner, director of health plans and finance, said that MIT Medical will enter into a “long term partnership” with Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. Under the agreement, doctors, nurses, and midwives from Mount Auburn will provide OB-GYN care for MIT Medical patients.

“We want this to be an enduring arrangement, not a business relationship,” Offner said.

Offner said that the initial contract with Mount Auburn is set for ten years. Discussion of the contract began this past spring. The new changes will take effect January 1, 2004, Kettyle said.

Student health plans revised

The MIT Student Extended Insurance plan will be modified to include coverage of certain doctors affiliated with Mount Auburn Hospital. However, there will be a 20 percent co-insurance payment on the global fee on obstetrical care not provided by a MIT clinician. This global fee covers pre-natal services, deliveries, and post-natal care, Offner said.

However, the MIT Student Extended Insurance plan will now cover doctors and midwives at three Mount Auburn practices, two in Lexington and one in Arlington, she said.

In his letter, Kettyle explained that MIT Medical has few deliveries each year, and this number is not sufficient to warrant the resources needed to provide around-the-clock care and delivery services. Mount Auburn Hospital will now provide these services.

Routine gynecological care for students will remain on campus, said Eileen L. O’Keefe, manager for finance and MIT health plans.

Meetings highlight health needs

Since the original announcement, there have been two meetings with faculty, staff, and students, including members of the Graduate Student Council, Kettyle said.

He said all of the groups present were interested in keeping OB-GYN services on campus and wished to expand the scope of women’s care beyond the usual focus on obstetrics.

Kettyle says MIT Medical plans to stage more meetings this fall to further discuss the changes in women’s health issues on campus.