The new head of Massachusetts behemoth Partners HealthCare, David F. Torchiana, M.D., a heart surgeon, will have his hands full as the system continues to reappraise its controversial expansion plans after pushback from state regulators eager to limit its market power in the state, especially in Greater Boston.
Dr. Torchiana must deal with antagonism fueled by what some perceive as the 10-hospital Partners’ arrogance and high prices.
Dr. Torchiana, seeming to refer to more restrained ideas about further Partners expansion in the Massachusetts, said future growth projects may be more out of state and abroad.
Alan Sager, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, told The Boston Globe that he’s not convinced that the new chief, who has been running Partners’ physicians network, will run things much differently than the outgoing Gary Gottlieb, M.D
“I don’t know how much difference one individual can make. Partners has been saying for 20 years that its mergers would reduce costs and improve quality, and there’s no evidence they’ve done that. . . Now they want to expand to other states, other countries, other planets. That may or may not be good for Partners. But there’s no reason to suppose that would be good for the people who live and work in Massachusetts.”
With Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the affiliated Harvard Medical School, Partners certainly has the global prestige to expand its marketing, albeit probably not to other planets for a few years.
Rich patients around the world like to tell their friends that they’ve been treated at MGH and or the Brigham, in the same way they brag about being treated at, say, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and M.D. Anderson. Even Boston’s snowstorms don’t scare them away.