Healthcare Roundup—Massachusetts AG expresses concern about Beth Israel and Lahey Health merger

Massachusett's Attorney General signaled she may press for changes to merger between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health. (Getty/sudok1)

Massachusetts health systems' merger raises concerns

The planned merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health could result in higher healthcare costs and less access for patients, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said.

Healey raised the concerns about the merger's potentially destabilizing impact on healthcare in Massachusetts in a letter sent earlier this week to healthcare watchdog agency Health Policy Commission.

Her statement signals that she may press for changes to the blockbuster deal, according to The Boston Globe. (Boston Globe article)

FEMA report: Agency caught unprepared for scale of hurricane damage in Puerto Rico

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was not properly prepared to respond to the likes of Hurricane Maria when it devastated the island in 2017, according to a report released by the agency on Friday.

Among the findings in the analysis of FEMA's response during the 2017 storm season (PDF), FEMA officials said their plans were based on a more focused disaster rather than a hurricane that could impact the entire island, and they underestimated how many supplies they would need and how fast they could get more supplies to Puerto Rico.

As the New York Times described, they had used the contents of FEMA’s warehouse in Puerto Rico on damage caused a few weeks prior to Hurricane Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands, leaving "not a single tarpaulin or cot left in stock." (New York Times article

Geisinger, St. Lukes break ground on joint venture hospital

Geisinger and St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) broke ground Thursday on a new acute care hospital in Schuylkill County about two hours northwest of Philadelphia.

The new Geisinger St. Luke’s Hospital will be a three-story, 80-bed hospital with an emergency department and a range of specialties. It is expected to be completed and open in the fourth quarter of 2019.

This is the first time in Pennsylvania that two healthcare systems have agreed to build and equally co-own a new hospital. The new hospital will operate under SLUHN and Geisinger as a joint venture, with funding and governance shared equally between the two nonprofit healthcare systems. St. Luke’s will build and manage the hospital while both organizations will contribute physicians and specialty support staff and expertise. (Release)