Have we entered a new era of tough hospital oversight?
That’s one possible takeaway from a Boston Globe report today that says the state’s new Health Policy Commission will — in a “a rare rebuke” — advise against an ambitious expansion plan by hospital system Partners Healthcare. The proposed acquisition of South Shore Hospital by Partners would “push up patients’ costs and stifle medical care competition in the region,” the Globe reports.
More from the story, by Rob Weisman:
A report by the year-old Massachusetts Health Policy Commission details what might happen if Partners is allowed to acquire the 378-bed Weymouth hospital and a Partners-owned physicians group absorbs Harbor Medical Associates, which has 65 doctors on the South Shore.
It concludes Partners’ South Shore moves would not only increase premiums for consumers and employers and weaken rival providers, but also threaten the state’s ability to hit its overall target for holding down medical spending, according to several people briefed on the findings. Those people spoke on condition of anonymity because the report is not yet public.
The commission, created under the state’s 2012 cost containment law, lacks the authority to block Partners’ moves, but its findings come at a critical time for other regulators who do have that power.
Partners spokesperson Rich Copp said his organization had not yet seen copy of the Commission report, which he stressed is “preliminary.”
But he said: “This preliminary report creates an opportunity to begin a meaningful dialogue with the Health Policy Commission around our vision to reduce health care costs.” Continue reading