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FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) will be holding a public hearing on Tenet Health’s plans to close the medical oncology and radiation oncology departments at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham.

The public hearing will be held in Nevins Hall in the Memorial Building on Wednesday night, July 6 at 6 p.m.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health plans on providing a call-in opportunity for people who want to comment without attending in person.

The call-in telephone number is 888-390-5007. The participant passcode is 7543309. The numbers were provided to the City of Framingham by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“It is important to note that the City of Framingham is not holding this hearing. We are only providing the space and furniture as requested by the hospital. All other arrangements are being made by the DPH and the MWMC,” said the City in a posting yesterday.

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Last week, City of Framingham Mayor Charlie Sisitsky sent a letter to Massachusetts Department of Public Health about the planned closure of the cancer center.

Mayor Sisitsky wrote “We continue to want a healthy and viable community hospital and remain willing partners, because it is warranted and can be financially viable. As you review their closure plan and explore possible mitigation to it, we ask that you consider the following:

1) MWMC maintaining the Cancer Care Center in Framingham for a minimum of two more years to further review data, engage medical staff and community leaders on a strategic plan for these services;

2) Explore with MWMC options for medical staff or another healthcare provider to assume the operations of the Cancer Center in Framingham;

3) Secure a commitment from MWMC to consistent and meaningful engagement with local leaders on current and future services to strengthen trust, create partnerships, share data, and prevent unnecessary closures.”

Since SOURCE broke the news that Tenet Healthcare planned to close the oncology department at the hospital in April 2022, Mayor Sisitsky has been strong in his statements that the cancer center is needed in the City of Framingham.

He has been joined by Senate President Karen Spilka, State Representatives Maria Robinson & Danielle Gregoire, the Framingham City Council and the MetroWest Medical center’s advisory board.

Also last week, Senators Elizabeth Warren & Ed Markey, and Congressman Katherine Clark joined their voices urging Tenet to keep the cancer center open in Framingham.

Tenet, in a memo, listed a target closure dates of August 9 for infusion oncology and October 31 for radiation oncology.

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“The City of Framingham is united in our support for a high-quality community hospital in Framingham.
The residents, businesses, and leaders of Framingham have consistently supported, patronized, and staffed our hospital to treat and care for the residents and visitors of this area since 1925. You will hear – as we hear every day – powerful, personal stories first hand on July 6 of this vital role in our community,” wrote Mayor Sisitsky.

“We are troubled by the lack of consistent, accountable leadership at the MetroWest Medical Center
(MWMC). The lack of leadership has caused chaos, frustration and decisions that have resulted in
ambulance diversions, closure of the Blood Bank and the proposed closure of the oncology and radiation oncology departments. The absence of timely communication or meaningful engagement with medical staff and community leaders about the future of many critical services has exacerbated the situation,” wrote Mayor Sisitsky.

MetroWest Medical Center’s CEO Ava Collins resigned shortly after the announcement to close the cancer center.

A new CEO was announced just last week, but he will not be at tonight’s public hearing.

Instead CEO Carolyn Jackson, who oversees Dallas-based Tenet Health properties in Massachusetts is expected to attend the hearing.

Tenet’s Health’ s plan is to close the Cancer Center and have patients go to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester for treatment.

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.