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Medicaid population whomps Partners’ results

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Part of Partners’ Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

As is often the case, Medicaid populations pose big financial challenges.

Consider prestigious Partners HealthCare, which owns Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s and some other famed hospitals.  It had a  record $108 million operating loss and a $249 million net loss in fiscal 2016. Most of the operating loss came from Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP),  its insurance unit that primarily serves low-income people. It’s the biggest loss in the system’s history.

NHP provides coverage for more than 430,000 commercial and Medicaid members; it’s the largest Medicaid insurer in Massachusetts.

NHP has been quite a challenge, having had $322 million in losses in the past three years. So Partners is taking such actions as closing  enrollment to new Medicaid members to give it time to renegotiate the rates it pays some hospitals.

Partners’ income was also hurt by the very expensive preparation for a nurses strike that was averted at the last moment and the continuing expense of a new $1.2 billion Epic EHR system.

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