Nearing the end of its first full-scale review of a proposed hospital merger, the Health Policy Commission on Wednesday approved two more full cost and market impact reviews of proposed hospital acquisitions in Winchester, Melrose and Medford.
The commission on Wednesday approved a preliminary report recommending a referral to Attorney General Martha Coakley and deeming Partners HealthCare System’s planned acquisition of South Shore Hospital and Harbor Medical Associates would increase costs without a substantial increase in health care system benefits and savings.
The commission then turned its attention to the suburbs north of Boston, approving a review of Partners’ proposed acquisition of Hallmark Health System and a review of Lahey Health System’s proposed acquisition of Winchester Hospital.
Hallmark operates Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose. Commission staff noted Partners’ plan calls for “significant restructuring of services at North Shore Medical Center” and said it “raises significant competitive concerns, including the potential of the resulting system to negotiate higher prices through increased bargaining leverage.”
HPC staff said Lahey became “more concentrated” when it merged with Northeast Health System and said an additional acquisition would raise similar “competitive concerns.”
- A. Metzger/SHNS