When you’re sick, living within 30 miles of Boston — home to some of the best hospitals and physicians in the world — can be a blessing.
However, fighting the traffic gridlock and solving the parking conundrum of the city can seem like a curse, one that’s especially unwelcome during the stress of an illness.
Healthcare professionals like Lawrence General Hospital President and CEO Dianne J. Anderson and Pentucket Medical Associates President Dr. Tom Fazio understand the conflict and wanted to create a place that delivered Boston-level care locally, and they believe they’ve done it with the newly opened Andover Medical Center on Lowell Street (Route 133).
The two were among those on hand last Wednesday to christen the 30,000-square-foot facility just off Interstate 93. It has been open to patients since December.
On the three floors, patients will find pediatric and adult primary care and urgent care provided by Pentucket Medical Associates, Women’s Health Imaging and laboratory services through Lawrence General and obstetrics and gynecologic care through Andover OB/GYN.
“This concept of ‘care for a lifetime’ is really about providing easily accessible, high-quality care close to home, in a day and age when time is more precious than ever,” Anderson said in a statement.
“We understand that our patients have busy lives, and we believe this new facility will make it easier for them to manage their routine care.”
Anderson described the facility as offering “one-stop shopping.’
“It’s local, it’s easy to get here, you can’t get any better,” she said. “We have the best that Boston had.”
She was referring to Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Rafferty, who has left Massachusetts General Hospital’s Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center to serve as director of breast imaging at the Andover center as well as Lawrence General’s South Pavilion.
Rafferty is a pioneer in 3-D breast cancer mammography who helped win the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the technology.
“I can deliver the exact same care here that I did in Boston, and that says a lot,” said Rafferty, who lives in Andover. “Now I get to do it four minutes from my house.”
Andover Medical Center is one of two sites offering Lawrence General’s new 3-D mammography technology, which allows physicians to spot potential problems on a mammogram earlier than ever before, increasing early detection of cancers and reducing “false positives” that require additional tests.
So far, the center, built by the Lupoli Companies, has received rave reviews.
“We actually opened for patients in mid-December, and have been very gratified with the comments we’ve received,” Fazio said in a statement. “Patients know us already. These providers have been in the community for a long time, so there is confidence in our capabilities.”
A second, 40-square-foot tower, called Phase II, is now being eyed for the site. It’s still in the planning stage, and no details have been released yet.
“Only through a shared vision can you have something this incredible,” developer Sal Lupoli said.