Massachusetts regulators put hospital deals on hold

A regulatory body in Massachusetts has put two pending hospital contracting deals on hold as part of increasing scrutiny of how providers price and assert market clout.

The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, which was formed in 2012, is taking a closer look at the plans of MetroWest Medical Center and New England Baptist Hospital to contract with the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, the Boston Business Journal reported. The commission is also expected to put a clinical affiliation between MetroWest and Beth Israel Deaconess on hold.

"We think the fact that the state's only orthopedic specialty hospital (MetroWest) joining Beth Israel raises important questions," Commission Executive Director David Seltz told the Business Journal. The Beth Israel system has grown significantly in under three years. It's now the second largest provider network in the state. The further addition of these hospital systems did raise a heightened level of questions."

In 2014, South Shore Hospital's acquisition by Partners HealthCare drew the scrutiny of the Massachusetts attorney general, leading to a negotiated set of conditions to allow the deal to go through.

The added oversight in Massachusetts comes as the state of Connecticut has also put a moratorium on some hospital mergers, with Gov. Dannel Malloy expressing concerns on how such deals impact costs.

To learn more:
- read the Boston Business Journal article