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June 26, 2023

After letting CEO go, Heywood Hospital stops construction on $29M surgical pavilion

Image | Courtesy Rockland Trust A rendering of surgical pavilion expansion at Heywood Hospital in Gardner

Less than a month after removing its CEO, Heywood Hospital in Gardner is pausing construction on its surgical pavilion, amid negotiations to better position the facility financially and legally. 

“Construction of the new state-of-the-art surgical platform is critically important to our community and to our health system. However, we must proceed responsibly and cautiously in light of the challenging healthcare environment in order to protect the investments made by all partners and members of our community. The stability of our healthcare system and financial viability of this project is in the best interest of our community,” Tom Sullivan, co-CEO of Heywood Healthcare, said in a Monday press release from the hospital. 

The Heywood system has two hospitals: its main 134-bed facility in Gardner and Athol Hospital, with 25 beds. Additionally, Heywood Health operates Heywood Medical Group, with an 86-bed mental health and substance abuse recovery facility in Petersham. 

The current surgical facility at Heywood remains operational, but its infrastructure is aging, according to the press release. 

On June 7, Heywood made public its removal of President and CEO Winfield Brown from that role. He was replaced by co-CEOs in what the hospital called an untraditional model to address the changing healthcare landscape amid a need to continue meeting community's goals.

Originally, the pavilion was set to include six operating rooms, with the goal of supporting local and regional access to surgical services. The hospital announced in March 2022 that construction was set to begin on the pavilion. At that time, the estimated finish date for the expansion was fall 2023. 

In January, Heywood’s planned merger with UMass Memorial Health fell through, which would have given the hospital increased access to UMass Memorial capital.

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