Mass General Brigham's plan for outpatient clinic gets pushback from safety-net system

UMass Memorial Health Care, a safety-net system in Worcester, Mass., is opposing Boston-based Mass General Brigham's plan to build an outpatient center in Westborough, Mass., according to The Community Advocate

Mass General Brigham's outpatient center would offer surgery, primary care, behavioral health, orthopedics, neurology, diagnostic imaging and other specialty care. But UMass Memorial said the center would threaten the sustainability of its hospitals and medical school in Worcester. 

Mass General Brigham's outpatient clinic would cater to those with higher incomes while leaving lower-income patients behind, the safety-net system said. UMass Memorial said that it makes 60 cents to 65 cents per dollar of treatment given to uninsured or underinsured patients, but it makes up the shortfall from patients who have commercial insurance that pays at a higher rate. Mass General Brigham's outpatient clinic could pull away patients with commercial insurance, UMass Memorial said. 

Mass General Brigham argued that having a comprehensive mental and physical care under one roof would help lower costs and improve access for its 42,000 patients within a 20-mile radius of the proposed site. 

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