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New Partners chief takes a humble tone

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The new head of Partners HealthCare implies that the powerful Massachusetts hospital system is reappraising its expansion plans and wants to address the impression that it’s arrogant. It would seem that its controversial plan to buy three suburban hospitals is off the table, at for now.


David Torchiana, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon, has run the 2,000-doctor physicians’ group for the past 12 years. That experience, presumably, will help better align the interests and missions of physicians and the system.

He told The Boston Globe. “We know we have to soften our external relations and get ourselves out of this place of being a miscreant in Massachusetts. It’s not a place we aspire to be.”

And, he said, Partners  will focus on controlling medical costs by higher efficiency, including better care coordination. That’s pretty much what all systems are promising to do.

Partners’  market power, high prices, but not always better patient outcomes, have been key to the intense opposition to its further expansion in metropolitan Boston, which  has involved two Hallmark Health hospitals north of the city and South Shore Hospital south of it.

Several years ago, The Globe ran a series detailing how much higher Partners’ charges were than its competitors’ for the same services, and its special deals with insurers.



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