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Partners in frustration



Anger and frustration are rife in the still rocky introduction at Partners HealthCare’s hospitals, in Greater Boston, of Epic’s electronic health record system. Some say the technology is hurting patient care and reducing efficiency. This Boston Globe story tells the tale well.



Partners’s big problem from a little island


Downtown lovely but very, very pricey Nantucket.

Math  errors at  tiny  Nantucket Cottage Hospital, on the island of Nantucket, Mass., and part of giant PartnersHealthCare have created what might become a $160 million drop in Medicare payments in the Bay State over the next year.

The Boston Globe reports that the problem could cut  Medicare funding by 10 percent at some hospitals as well as  force layoffs of 2,000 staff, mostly outside of Boston, says the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals.

Here the nub of the Globe story:

“…Medicare must reimburse a state’s urban hospitals for employee wages at least as much as it reimburses its rural hospitals. As a result, Nantucket sets the floor for wage reimbursements at hospitals across the state. And because Nantucket’s wages are high, due to its remote island location and steep cost of living, that has created bonuses for many other Massachusetts hospitals in recent years.

“Not this year. Consultants hired by Partners made several errors that led to lower wages being reported to Medicare for Nantucket Hospital. They overestimated hours, thereby reducing the hourly rate, and did not include enough higher-paid physician hours and overtime pay, according to an e-mail from the Massachusetts Hospital Association obtained by The Globe.”

“Those mistakes, combined with another smaller adjustment to Nantucket’s wages, would result in a ‘steep and extraordinarily serious’ decline in Medicare payments, wrote the association’s general counsel, Timothy Gens, in the e-mail. He said ‘the situation is further complicated by the fact that the [Medicare] deadline for corrections has passed.’ The rates affect the next fiscal year, beginning in October.”




2 big Mass. systems again stop merger talks


–Photo by TIM PIERCE

For the third time in the past four years,  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health have stopped merger talks, The Boston Globe reported. Their merger would create a formidable competitor  to PartnersHealthcare in eastern Massachusetts.

The differences between negotiators for Lahey and Beth Israel Deaconess apparently revolved around how to share the leadership of a combined system and how to put physician groups from the two systems into the same system. (This suggests that turf and ego issues were large.)

We at Cambridge Management Group wouldn’t be at all surprised if they resumed merger talks soon under the relentless pressure to compete with Partners.



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