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Beth Israel, Lahey Health 13-hospital merger proposal is formalized, moves on for state review

State attorney general could block the deal if the Commission concludes it would be bad for healthcare costs.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

The main entrance to the east campus of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, on Brookline Avenue in Boston. Photo by <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Tim_Pierce" target="_blank">Tim Pierce</a>The main entrance to the east campus of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, on Brookline Avenue in Boston. Photo by Tim Pierce

The largest hospital merger in Massachusetts in 23 years took a big step forward Thursday, when Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health signed a definitive merger agreement and filed with the state Health Policy Commission, a report from Boston Radio Station WBUR said.

The Commission will now review the plan, with particular attention on how the deal would affect healthcare costs in the state. They will also look at whether Beth Israel or Lahey have used their perceived status as lower priced hospitals to gain higher reimbursement rates from insurers, as well as what would happen if the lower-priced hospitals in the system were to begin getting reimbursement rates more in line with those of Beth Israel, WBUR said.

[Also: Tracking 2017 mergers and acquisitions]

The state attorney general could block the deal if the Commission concludes it would be bad for healthcare costs. The review is expected to get underway next month, the report said.

There are 13 hospitals that would be included in the deal, and four that are currently affiliated with BIDMC that are not. The ones excluded are Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Healthcare in Brockton, Cambridge Health Alliance, and MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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