Editor’s Note: This report has been updated a couple of times to add quotes from elected leaders.
FRAMINGHAM – Senate President Karen Spilka personally called the Massachusetts Secretary of Health & Human Services to ask the department to push back a planned hearing on Tuesday, June 7 to discuss the possible closure of the Cancer Center at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham.
The new hearing date has yet to be set but it will be later than June 7, a night that the Mayor and the City Council were already scheduled to discuss the City’s budget.
The Senate President’s office was only notified of the June 7 hearing yesterday, June 3.
The Mayor’s office was never notified of the important Massachusetts Department of Public Health public hearing on MetroWest Medical Center’s intent to discontinue Oncology Infusion and Radiation Oncology services at Framingham Union Campus in Framingham.
State Rep. Maria Robinson said the state representatives were only notified of the hearing on Friday, June 3 at 5 p.m., after the SOURCE published a report about the hearing at 3:15 p.m. yesterday.
SOURCE reached out to State Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis on Friday and no response as of Sunday, June 5.
“I’m thrilled to announce that after discussions with EOHHS today, the hearings about MW Medical Center’s cancer center will be delayed for at least a week & will be in person in Framingham. Now we can all have a say on this critical decision. Further details to follow,” said the Senate President today, June 4.
SOURCE will post the details when available.
“My sincere thanks and appreciation to Senate President Spilka for intervening on behalf of our community to convince the Department of Public Health to reschedule the public hearing regarding MetroWest Medical Center’s intention to close their oncology department,” said Mayor Charlie Sisitsky to SOURCE Saturday night.
“It is essential that the entire region be given adequate time to prepare for this important conversation. The intense interest in this subject requires that this hearing be held in person in a safe environment in Framingham in order to give all members of the community an opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns about the planned action of the hospital,” said Mayor Sisitsky.
The state’s only notification to the public about this hearing has been a legal notice that was published in the MetroWest Daily News on May 20.
SOURCE called the state’s office three times this week and left messages three times and no one returned calls on the hearing date.
SOURCE left a message complaining that the closing information was not on the state’s website as of yesterday, June 2, and surprisingly it appeared on June 3 on the website.
Since then both the medical board and the hospital’s advisory board have voted to not close the cancer center.
Also since the announcement, the CEO announced she was leaving and the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer left too.
“I am hopeful that this hearing will result in a reversal of the decision by the hospital and the parent company, Tenet, to close the oncology department, or alternatively to find another way to continue to provide this critically needed service to our community here in Framingham,” said Mayor Sisitsky.
“I’d like to thank Senator Karen Spilka for her help on postponing this meeting. We need to have an open and accessible meeting with the community and all of the stakeholders that will be greatly impacted by this impending decision,” said City Councilor at-large Janet Leombruno. “We’re hoping that Tenet will reverse this decision and keep the oncology department in Framingham.”