CONCORD — The saying “the first wealth is health” is attributed to American essayist and local resident, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Fittingly, his nephew, Charles Emerson, donated the 40 acres on which Emerson Hospital was founded in 1911.
After more than a century of growth and service, the hospital’s management – led by President and CEO Christine Schuster – decided it was time to reinvent the institution’s name and logo in the community.
“We did our strategic planning retreat in March 2020, just before COVID hit, where we review our mission, vision and values,” Schuster said. “And we decided we were more than just a hospital. “Emerson Hospital” indicates that we focus only on illness, while we focus on health and well-being.
First, Schuster and his team operationally prepared the hospital to meet the day-to-day health care needs precipitated by the pandemic. Then they began working on other strategic initiatives such as expanding their urgent care facilities in Maynard, opening an outpatient gastrointestinal surgery center in Concord, and relocating their physicians. and their staff to a platform of digital services.
Finally, they redesigned and launched their new name and logo becoming Emerson Health.
“The idea is that we can meet you wherever you are on your health journey,” Schuster explained. “Through our sites and services, we can provide 85% of the care you will need in your lifetime at Emerson Health.
With some 1,500 employees, Emerson Health is a small player in the competitive healthcare landscape — Mass General Brigham, for example, employs more than 25,000 people — but Schuster said he values more than the quality of services by relative to cost.
“Just yesterday, Becker’s Review came out with the 148 hospitals nationwide that have high-quality, low-cost hospitals, and Emerson was one of them,” Schuster said Thursday. “I’m really proud of that. We are doing what the State Health Policy Commission, which monitors healthcare spending in the Commonwealth, has asked us to do. It’s good for the patient, and we’re a leader in that.
Schuster said COVID-19 has created additional mental health needs that exceed existing resources in many communities.
“Every day 600 people are waiting for placement in a mental health bed,” she said. “The hospitals closest to us – Lowell General, Lahey and Marlboro – do not have inpatient psychiatric units. In fact, 68% of Emerson Health’s inpatients are not patients in our service area. We intervene and take care of the mental health needs of the surrounding communities.
Since July 1, Schuster has been running Emerson Health for 18 years. She is a trained nurse, but finds that even in the executive suite, things are never boring. In addition to current challenges related to COVID-19, including shortages of intravenous contrast used in high-tech imaging tests and concerns about a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall, she also addressed current events such as the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that constitutionally protected a woman’s right to a legal abortion.
“I have two daughters, so I’m worried they’ll have less rights than me,” Schuster said. “According to my board and myself, this is a health care issue. We respect the decisions women make with their health care providers, and we will continue to provide reproductive care, including abortions.
Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order on June 24, protecting access to reproductive health services in the state.
Mass General Brigham, a 24-year-old subsidiary of Emerson Health, issued a message to its patients that “the Supreme Court’s decision does not change abortion rights for patients receiving care in Massachusetts. We will continue to provide high quality care to all patients who come to us for care.
Although headquartered in Concord, Emerson Health has grown to serve more than 300,000 people in 25 communities, including Lowell, Westford and Chelmsford, and will continue its mission to “care for the whole community”, including a increased access to health care in underserved areas. areas, Schuster said.
The Sudbury resident says there’s a place for community hospitals like Emerson Health, which isn’t a research hunch or teaching facility like many of the larger university-style health care facilities.
“Here at Emerson, you see your doctor, not a resident or fellow,” Schuster noted. “There is a real price difference in our care compared to large institutions. Our main goal is to take care of our community.
On June 24, Schuster unveiled the new name and logo at a celebration attended by staff. The event included a photo booth, branded giveaways and food. The green in the new name and logo signifies a fresh start, says Schuster.
“It’s a chance for us to re-introduce ourselves and the services we provide to the community,” Schuster said.
“I would put my quality up against Mass General and Brigham any day of the week,” she said proudly. “We’re here for you wherever you are on your health journey.”