Springfield health system emerges from bankruptcy as North Star Health

Springfield Medical Care Systems was renamed North Star Health. (Courtesy of North Star Health)

Editor’s note: This story by Nora Doyle-Burr first appeared in the Valley News on May 17.

Springfield Medical Care Systems has been rebranded as North Star Health, according to a news release.

The renaming of the Federally Licensed Health Center based in Springfield comes after the organization emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and spun off from Springfield Hospital in late 2020.

The name ‘North Star’ aims to highlight how the organization’s healthcare teams work to help patients ‘identify their health priorities’, helping them reduce stress, sleep better or eat better healthier, according to the release. Making such lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of diabetes or high blood pressure, for example. Regular cancer screenings, vaccinations and annual checkups are other preventative measures provided by North Star clinicians.

“We have many patients who tell us what they want to change in their lives and who see us as their guide and companion in that effort,” CEO Josh Dufresne said in the statement. “Staff have commented on how much we can look like the North Star. Just as the North Star serves as a beacon, our care teams meet each person where they are and help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

The name change also “embraces the broader reach and diversity of the many communities served by the (federally qualified health center) in two states,” officials said in the statement.

The organization includes Charlestown Health Center; Chester Dental Centre; Ludlow Health Center; Ludlow Dental Center; Mountain Valley Health Center in Londonderry.; North Star Vision (formerly Lane Eye Associates) in Springfield; Rockingham Health Center and Springfield Health Center. It also provides on-site services at four schools and the Edgar May Recreation Center in Springfield.

The organization then known as Springfield Medical Care Systems and the associated Springfield Hospital first filed for bankruptcy in June 2019, after several years of operating losses. These losses ultimately resulted in an accumulation of approximately $20 million in debt.

Although the organizations separated as part of the Chapter 11 restructuring, which was made possible by $6 million in exit funding from the State of Vermontthey continue to share some services through what Sunday’s press release called a “collaborative agreement that supports a strong continuum of care for patients.”

Although the name of the organization has changed, the people running it have not.

“Our ownership, board of directors and organization have not changed and our locations, providers and services remain the same,” Bob Flint, chairman of the board of North Star Health, said in the statement.

The transition to North Star Health will be gradual over the course of a year, beginning with the launch of a new website and online materials, and followed by updated signs over the next few months.

The launch of North Star’s new brand comes about a month after the Lebanese company Dartmouth Health has announced a new name and logowhich DH aims to use to increase name awareness in the southern part of New Hampshire.

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