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FRAMINGHAM – MetroWest Medical Center plans to close its oncology and radiation oncology departments in 2022.

The Tenet Healthcare-owned medical center located in Framingham is expected to file paperwork with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts later today, April 13.

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare announced $97 million profit in the first quarter of this year.

Tenet Healthcare ended 2021 with a net income from continuing operations of $915 million.

MetroWest Medical Center informed 30 to 40 doctors, nurses, and other staff on Tuesday evening of the decision. The closure is expected in about 120 days or in fall of 2022.

SOURCE reached out to MetroWest Medical Center/Tenet Healthcare for a statement Tuesday night after 7:30. A statement has not been sent yet.

MetroWest Medical Center CEO Ava Collins sent an email out to members of the Board of Trustees this morning.

“As we enhance our focus on behavioral health, cardiovascular services, surgical services, emergency services and women’s health, we have made the decision to close outpatient medical oncology and radiation oncology, as well as sleep medicine services at MetroWest Medical Center. We will continue to provide cancer screening, all imaging services and cancer-related surgical procedures at MetroWest as we consolidate,” wrote Collins to the Board this morning, April 13.

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“After careful consideration and thoughtful analysis, we believe this is the best way to meet the needs of all the people we serve across our region. All current patients of these programs will have the opportunity to continue their care at our sister hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, where they will have access to a broader range of specialized services,’ wrote Collins on April 13.

“We will be providing a seamless transition in care for all current patients to ensure a smooth
handoff from the physicians at MetroWest Medical Center to the physicians at Saint Vincent
Hospital. All relevant patient records will be available to the appropriate teams at Saint Vincent,
and many patients can choose to continue to receive care from their current physician.
For those of you who are not familiar, the Saint Vincent Hospital Cancer and Wellness Center is
fully accredited by the Commission on Cancer and offers comprehensive care including
chemotherapy, imaging, radiation and rehabilitation. The Center for Sleep Disorders, Diagnosis
and Management at Saint Vincent Hospital is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep
Medicine and offers a full range of services designed to evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage
sleep disorders,” wrote Collins.

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In January 2020, SOURCE was the first news outlet to post that Tenet healthcare would close Leonard Morse Hospital, including its emergency room, and convert the hospital into a behavioral health center.

When that paperwork was filed, the hospital also announced it would close the surgical and ER departments within 120 days. The final day for Leonard Morse ER was October 25, 2020.

MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham consists of Framingham Union Hospital, the Framingham Heart Center, and the Framingham Cancer Care Center, all on Lincoln Street.

With the closure of the radiation oncology department, radiation treatments will not be available, and patients would need to go to St. Vincent Hospital, also owned by Tenet Healthcare, in Worcester or a non-Tenet Hospital.

Other options in the area would be the UMass Memorial Cancer Center at Marlborough Hospital and the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional Medical Center, and the Newton-Wellesley’s Cancer Center.

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MetroWest Medical Center’s Cancer Care Center says on its website it offers “compassionate cancer care close to home.”

MetroWest Medical’s Cancer Center is “accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, meaning that we meet the highest standards of care. Through collaborations with the National Cancer Institute and pharmaceutical companies, patients have access to clinical trials for a variety of cancers.”

The recently renovated cancer center treats patients battling breast, blood, head, gynecological, lung, and prostate cancers.

In 2016, MetroWest Medical Center treated 603 cancer patients.

The Cancer Center’s radiation oncology department installed a new, state-of-the-art Varian True Beam Linear Accelerator, designed to treat a broad range of cancers with exceptional accuracy while protecting surrounding tissue and organs. “The machine delivers treatments in as little as half the time of traditional machines, so you or your loved one can spend less time in treatment and more time doing the things you enjoy,” noted MetroWest Medical Center in its 2018 annual cancer report.

SOURCE could not find a report filed after the 2018 one. Below are statistics on cancer cases at MetroWest Medical Center from that report.

While the number of cancers being treated at the MetroWest Medical Cancer Center has been dropping, those individual who are still being treated in Framingham are some of the most vulnerable populations – senior citizens, individuals for whom English is not their first language, low-income individuals, and the immigrant population.

In 2017, MetroWest Medical Center celebrated the hospital’s new Cancer Center and affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

A clinical affiliation agreement between MetroWest Medical and Boston’s Beth Israel was approved by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission in September 2016.

But the partnership was short-lived, almost like the individuals who hold the CEO position at MetroWest Medical Center. There have been 5 CEOS since 2017.

In August of 2017, Jeffrey M. Welch was the interim CEO of MetroWest Medical Center, while Tenet conducted a nationwide search for its next leader. Also at that time, Andrew Harding was named Chief Nursing Officer at MetroWest Medical Center.

Tenet then named Jeffrey Liebman CEO, but he resigned after just a year in the summer of 2018.

Harding was named interim CEO in August and then permanent CEO in fall 2018.

The coronavirus pandemic hit in March of 2020.

In November of 2020, the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce gave CEO Harding its business leader of the year award, and abruptly a month later he was gone.

In December 2020, Tenet Healthcare named Ava Collins as CEO. She has now held the position the position now for about 16 months. She is responsible for overseeing all strategic, operational and clinical activities at MetroWest Medical Center.

The longest serving CEO at MetroWest Medical Center in recent years was Andrei Soran who held the position from April 2006 until June 2013. He was replaced by Barbara Doyle who held the position from until 2017.

Tenet Healthcare has owned MetroWest Medical center since 2013, when the Dallas-based company acquired the Nashville-based Vanguard in a $1.8 billion deal.

Tenet had previously owned MetroWest Medical Center and Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester but sold the facilities to Vanguard Health in 2004 for $126.7 million.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.