Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


April 11, 2013

Center meant to open eyes to Lawrence medical offerings

There was a time when Andover people went to Lawrence for just about everything. Now, there are residents who won’t visit the Immigrant City for anything, even their medical care.

So Lawrence General Hospital and Pentucket Medical Associates are coming to them.

The two established Merrimack Valley medical organizations are teaming up to build a $15.5 million medical center at 307 Lowell St., on land across from the Andover IRS and by the junction of Interstate 93 and Route 133. Leaders of the groups believe the Andover site will help introduce people here to the improvements made to their other local medical facilities during the last several years.

“There is so much out-migration of people who are [travelling] down to Boston for really routine care. There is very, very little that anybody needs to go to Boston for, with all the capability that we have at Lawrence General, and with Pentucket Medical and the wide variety of specialists we have,” said Dianne Anderson, president and CEO of Lawrence General. “There’s really no reason for people to go through all that inconvenience and expense.”

Lawrence General has spent millions to upgrade its hospital, even offering free valet parking. It has partnered with PMA and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to create a cardiac cath lab that it says outperforms the industry gold standard; it takes Lawrence General 64 minutes to have a balloon inflated in a patient, while the industry standard is 90 minutes.

Lawrence General has also partnered with the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center to staff its new $600,000 Pediatric Center, which has private rooms.

But many in Andover continue to travel to the Boston hospitals.

During the first quarter of this year, about 16 percent of patients staying at Lawrence General were from Andover and North Andover, neighboring towns to the city. And that’s up 2.1 percent from the previous months.

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