Cambridge Health Alliance completes reconfiguration

Cambridge Health Alliance completes reconfiguration

Next week’s planned move of its human resources department into the Somerville Hospital campus will complete a major system-wide reconfiguration project for Cambridge Health Alliance, the alliance said.

The alliance runs hospitals in Cambridge and Everett as well as in Somerville. The nearly two-year reconfiguration project came in the wake of state budget cuts that “threatened the public health-care system’s viability,” the alliance said in a press release.

A trend toward hospital consolidation is underway in Massachusetts. The Caritas hospital network, for example, was recently acquired by the affiliate of a New York private equity firm. And the health-care landscape is changing in other ways as well. Earlier this week, two large health plans, Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, said they are exploring a possible merger as the industry struggles with controlling costs.

Last summer, Cambridge Health Alliance said it was seeking a buyer or an affiliation with a stronger health-care system. One challenge for the alliance is that its Cambridge Hospital, Somerville Hospital, and Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett serve large populations of Medicaid patients and low-income immigrants.

In any case, the alliance said this week it has emerged from its system-wide reconfiguration “stronger and more efficiently organized and poised to lead the way toward further statewide reforms in health care.”

In Somerville, the reconfiguration means that nearly 400 people now work at the Somerville Campus, a roughly 29 percent increase over pre-reconfiguration employment. The consolidation of various departments at Somerville will save the alliance nearly $1 million in lease costs in fiscal year 2012, the alliance said.

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