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Friday, April 27, 2007

Hallmark Health expands in northern suburbs

By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff

Hallmark Health System, the parent organization of Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, continues its expansion spree, in part to better compete with Boston's teaching hospitals for suburban patients.

Hallmark, which opened a $4 million cancer center in Stoneham in February, plans to open the $4.6 million Hallmark Health Medical Center in Reading near Jordan's Furniture in July. It will be equipped to perform ultrasound, CT and bone density scans and digital mammography, and include medical offices for cardiologists, internists, a midwife, obstetricians/gynecologists and orthopedic specialists. Renovations also are underway for a $5 million Cardiac & Endovascular Center on the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital campus.

Like many community hospital networks, Hallmark is feeling the heat as Boston's academic medical centers expand more aggressively into the suburbs, and is trying to woo patients with comprehensive, high-tech services that are more convenient.

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