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Big new Mass. system would compete with Partners on price

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Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Mass.

As has been long expected, and after several previous merger attempts, Beth Israel Deaconess Memorial Center, in Boston, and Lahey Health, in Burlington, Mass., plan to merge, in a combination that would also include, most prominently, New England Baptist Hospital, in Boston; Anna Jacques Hospital, in Newburyport, and Mount Auburn Hospital, in Cambridge. If approved, the merge would create a 13-hospital system, the second-largest in Massachusetts.

The new network plans to compete with Boston-based Partners HealthCare, the state’s biggest system, with 14 institutions, as a lower-cost network. Partners includes huge Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Meanwhile, Stuart H. Altman, M.D., chairman of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, said he worries about ongoing market consolidation and the associated declining number of independent community hospitals in the state.

Healthcare costs in Massachusetts exceed those in most other states, and that has been attributed in part to the high prices by behemoths like Partners.


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