Massachusetts mergers push full steam ahead

Massachusetts has become the focal point for hospital mergers and acquisitions recently, representing consolidation among healthcare organizations across the country.

Among the recent deals is yesterday's announcement that Saints Medical Center in Lowell, Mass., will merge with Lowell General Hospital instead of the anticipated purchase by Steward Health Care System, reports the Boston Globe.

Despite Saints and Steward signing a letter of intent in April and purchase agreement in July, the two organizations said they "mutually decided to end discussions that would have resulted in Saints becoming part of Steward" in a statement. It is unclear if physicians' objections played a role in the cancelled plans for a Saints-Steward merger, according to the Globe article.

Saints' election to go with Lowell General over Steward may be a change from Steward's recent buying spree, including acquisition of Caritas Christi Health Care System in 2010 and ownership of Carney Hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital & Medical Center, Norwood Hospital, Saint Anne's Hospital, and St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, according to the Massachusetts Hospital Association. In addition, Steward this year gained ownership of Nashoba Valley Medical Center and Merrimack Valley Hospital from Essent Healthcare.

In other related news, Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., and Northeast Health System in Beverly, Mass., laid out plans for their proposed merger, the two organizations announced this week. They said that they will continue "essential" services, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, cancer, cardiac, behavioral health, and senior health at Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital for three years and keep all employees for at least one year after the merger, reports The Salem News.

Once the Lahey-Northeast partnership is complete, the newly formed organization plans to acquire and develop other healthcare systems for a multi-provider delivery system in Massachusetts, according to a Gloucester Times article.

Healthcare mergers and acquisitions have been at all-time high with 243 total deals worth $73.7 billion during the second quarter.

For more information:
- read the Boston Globe article
- read The Salem News article
- read the Gloucester Times article
- read the MHA website on recent deals

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