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After 60 Years, Beth Israel And Hebrew SeniorLife Get A Little Formal

Dr. Kevin Tabb, chief of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

As a Goldberg, I reserve the right to tell dark Jewish jokes, and here’s one of my favorites:

A 95-year-old Jewish man and his 94-year-old wife storm into the rabbi’s office and tell him they want a divorce — now.

“Calm down, calm down,” the rabbi tells them. “Sol, Goldie, you’ve been married, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, for over seventy years. Why get a divorce now?”

“We would have done it long ago,” Goldie huffs. “But we were waiting for the children to die.”

The news that brought that old chestnut to mind concerns a somewhat opposite phenomenon: After 60 years of working closely together, Hebrew SeniorLife and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are taking a step a little like a marriage. They have signed a formal preferred provider agreement.

“After 60 years, we decided to make it official,” said Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center spokesman Jerry Berger. “There was never a formal written agreement. This is the first formal written agreement.”

The looming next stage of health reform is prompting many hospitals to get their organizational ducks into a row. Last week brought the announcement that Partners Healthcare and South Shore Hospital had moved a formal step closer.

From today’s press release: Continue reading