Mass General Brigham Combining Clinical Units Across Hospitals

March 14, 2024
Transformation will also include the creation of interdepartmental disease-focused institutes

Mass General Brigham is launching a process to combine clinical departments and academic programs across Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) as single departments. 

This transformation will also include the creation of interdepartmental disease-focused institutes.
“This is an exciting step in our transformation journey. If we want to be the best, highest-quality, safest and most respected health system in the country in service of our patients, the great departments across our academic centers must plan and work together as one,” said Anne Klibanski, M.D., president and CEO, Mass General Brigham, in an announcement.

As a news story on WBUR’s website notes, the health system — formerly known as Partners HealthCare — was founded 30 years ago, “but for most of that time, its major hospitals didn’t work closely together. Historically, leaders at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital were protective of each institution's history and culture — and sometimes, they even competed against each other.”

The WBUR story adds that Klibanski, who became CEO of the system in 2019, has worked to undo this insularity but the effort has been met with resistance, and many leaders have left MGB in the process.

To support this new structure, senior leaders at the academic medical centers will take on expanded roles: David F. M. Brown, M.D., has been named President, Academic Medical Centers, Mass General Brigham, a role in which he will provide leadership for both hospitals, including oversight of the clinical departments. Marcela del Carmen, M.D., M.P.H., and Giles Boland, M.D., will expand their roles to serve as presidents of MGH and BWH, respectively, while continuing their current roles as presidents of the physicians’ organizations (POs) at the academic medical centers.

As part of this transformation, each new integrated clinical department will be led by a single chair. The organization said this is a critical step toward transforming patient experience, elevating quality and safety, clinical operations and better supporting our exceptional clinicians and researchers. The process will take place over the next several years. The timing for each department’s transformation will depend on many factors, including the size, complexity, and discipline of the department.

The new disease-focused institutes will be designed around specific patient needs and conditions. These institutes will advance and facilitate interdisciplinary research and teaching by bringing together talented groups of physicians and scientists across Mass General Brigham to work together in service of patients. Department leadership, faculty and staff will have major voices in shaping these institutes, MGB said. 

The transformation will be guided by Brown in his newly created role providing leadership for the academic mission at both hospitals. Brown will work with O’Neil Britton, M.D., Chief Integration Officer, Mass General Brigham to lead a multi-year transformation to single, unified departments across the two academic medical centers.

“Our two amazing academic medical centers are so similar - deeply committed to our four part mission – and bringing together the strengths of both will allow us to be much more impactful in service of our patients,” said Brown, in a statement. “And we intend to do that with an eye toward making the delivery of care easier for our clinicians and staff.”

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