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December 23, 2020
UMass Memorial and Harrington health care systems, seeking merger, file with state regulatory agencies

Worcester, MA, December 23, 2020 – UMass Memorial Health Care and Harrington Health Care System, seeking to become officially affiliated, have taken another step forward in the process by filing with state regulatory agencies.

The health care systems have jointly submitted the first in a series of required filings for UMass Memorial to become the parent company of Harrington, UMass Memorial said in a statement Tuesday. This would make Harrington Hospital, system employees and the medical group members of the UMass Memorial Health Care system.

UMass Memorial said it anticipates it could take up to four months to complete the final regulatory steps.

Officials from both health care systems have said they want to merge to better serve Central Massachusetts. They say benefits of the affiliation will include investments to support clinical care; maintaining existing acute care hospital facilities in Southbridge and Webster for at least five years; and strengthening common goals of continuously improving quality of care and patient safety, while providing better access and affordability of care.

The two Central Massachusetts systems have long had a working relationship and collaboration. Recently, they have partnered through telemedicine with the launch of an electronic intensive care unit that allows Harrington providers to consult remotely with UMass Memorial specialists on the care of critically ill patients.

“A closer affiliation will make our organizations stronger together and improve our ability to deliver more coordinated, high-quality health care services to our region,” the statement said. “Importantly, this affiliation will enhance Harrington Memorial Hospital’s ability to continue to serve as a high-quality community hospital and better position it to respond to the health care needs of patients in the communities it serves.”

The two systems officially agreed to merge in September. Officials from UMass Memorial and Harrington worked through setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic. Ed Moore, the CEO at Harrington, previously said the strain from the coronavirus pandemic has “made it even more apparent and imperative” that merging with UMass Memorial is a positive move.

In 2018, Harrington formed a 10-member Strategic Executive Committee to evaluate long-term options to maintain the hospital. That led to a letter of intent with UMass Memorial in January.

The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.