Massachusetts hospital association admits price variation 'problematic'

After a several month-long investigation, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association issued a report that acknowledges the problem of "unwarranted price variation among providers" in the Commonwealth, The Boston Globe reports.

Investigations conducted by researchers at The Boston Globe, the attorney general's office and other state agencies found large academic teaching hospitals in Boston use size and reputation to command higher prices than community hospitals. For the first time, MHA publicly acknowledged in its report published Oct. 4 the trend is a systemic problem "that should be addressed."

However, MHA President and CEO Lynn Nicholas said finding consensus among its member organizations was not easy.

"We had people who felt price variation is a huge issue and people who thought that it is being overplayed," Ms. Nicholas told The Boston Globe.

Hospital chief executives who studied the issue for MHA represented a range of perspectives. Those who participated in the study included David Torchiana, MD, CEO of Boston-based Partners HealthCare, and Howard Grant, MD, CEO of Burlington-based Lahey Health.

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