MA rules would limit teaching hospitals' expansion into suburbs

Massachusetts regulators are expected to make it much harder for Boston's big, powerful teaching hospitals to descend into the suburbs and take business from smaller community hospitals. The measure, which would have to be approved by the state's Public Health Council, is aimed at muscular organizations like Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center, whose budgets are much larger and are brand names far more visible than those of community hospitals.

Until recently, teaching hospitals have been able to slide into the suburbs by placing outpatient facilities, then adding overnight beds to those facilities--often without complaints from state officials. But the new measure, drafted by the Patrick administration, would force such hospitals to prove that such expansions aren't going to duplicate already-existing services.

One of the issues driving the drafting of the rule is Massachusetts' new universal health measure, under which the state is paying much of the insurance bill for 300,000 newly-insured citizens. Regulators fear that if the teaching hospitals come to dominate suburban healthcare, costs will go up, as they often have higher prices than community hospitals.

To learn more about the proposed regulations:
- read this article from The Boston Globe

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