Bruce T. Martin Photography

Bruce T. Martin Photography

Massachusetts Eye and Ear (MEE) and Partners HealthCare recently announced that both organizations have agreed upon a letter of intent for MEE to formally become a member of Partners HealthCare. The agreement is the first step in a comprehensive process to make Partners HealthCare the parent organization of MEE.

“Mass. Eye and Ear made a promise to patients around the world that we would find cures for blindness and deafness,” said Wycliffe “Wyc” Grousbeck, chairman of the MEE Board of Directors. “Joining Partners would give our physicians and scientists the best path to keep delivering on that promise as quickly as possible.”

Under the proposed terms, MEE will keep its name and hospital license and will remain a not-for-profit charitable health care organization with its own board of directors, executive leadership team, medical and research staff, and community outreach and fundraising activities.

Founded in Boston in 1824, MEE is the oldest eye and ear, nose and throat hospital in the country. In addition to providing patient care, MEE is home to the world’s largest vision and hearing research centers, as well as the Harvard Medical School training programs in ophthalmology and otolaryngology.

“As we look to advance patient care, research and teaching in a rapidly changing health care environment, we believe the best strategic solution for Mass. Eye and Ear is to join an integrated health care system,” said John Fernandez, president and CEO. “Given our long history of clinical and research collaboration with Partners hospitals, this feels like a clear choice.”

MEE physicians lead and staff the Division of Ophthalmology at BWH. In order to provide the best continuity of care for all patients, MEE has invested in and is now using the Partners electronic medical record and patient portal.

“By formally bringing Mass. Eye and Ear into the Partners family we can greatly strengthen the clinical and scientific relationships between our organizations,” said David Torchiana, MD, president and CEO of Partners. “Together we can make Mass. Eye and Ear services and research accessible to a broader population of patients, further improving the quality of life for thousands of individuals and families.”

The agreement must now undergo due diligence, the negotiation of definitive transaction documents and a state and federal regulatory review.