Mass. provider coali­tion protests Part­ners’ ex­pan­sion

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Bob Her­man

A coali­tion of Mas­sachusetts health sys­tems and physi­cian groups is chal­leng­ing an agree­ment that would al­low the state’s largest health­care or­ga­ni­za­tion, Bos­ton-based Part­ners Health-Care, to get even big­ger.

The coali­tion—which in­cludes Bos­ton’s Beth Is­rael Dea­coness Med­i­cal Cen­ter and Tufts Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Cam­bridge Health Al­liance, La­hey Health in Burling­ton, Atrius Health in New­ton and sev­eral other com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals and physi­cian groups—sent letters to the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice ask­ing that state stake­hold­ers have a say in Part­ners’ new ac­qui­si­tions.

Un­der a pro­posed deal struck in May be­tween Part­ners and the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice, the 12-hospi­tal Part­ners sys­tem would ac­quire Hall­mark Health Sys­tem in Mel­rose, Mass., and South Shore Hospi­tal in South Wey­mouth, Mass., but with sev­eral stip­u­la­tions. For ex­am­ple, Part­ners would not be able to raise prices sys­temwide more than the gen­eral in­fla­tion rate, which has hov­ered be­tween 1% and 2%.

The coali­tion wrote that Part­ners’ con­tin­ued ex­pan­sion has “sig­nif­i­cant and dele­te­ri­ous im­pacts on the en­tire Mas­sachusetts mar­ket­place.” For in­stance, the group said the price cap reg­u­la­tion would have lit­tle ef­fect, be­cause Part­ners al­ready com­mands some of the high­est prices in the state.

La­hey Health is among area health sys­tems chal­leng­ing the Part­ners’ agree­ment.

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