Partners HealthCare to end heart surgeries at North Shore Medical Center

Listen

As a result of underutilization, Boston-based Partners HealthCare will close the cardiac surgery program at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Mass., and instead send patients to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, according to The Boston Globe.

North Shore will close its cardiac surgery unit Aug. 17. Less invasive angioplasty procedures will continue to be performed at the hospital.

In a letter to state officials last week, Partners said North Shore's heart surgery program is "no longer cost-effective or clinically necessary," pointing out that more than one-quarter of patients in the Salem region already go to Massachusetts General for heart surgery, according to the report.

North Shore's cardiac surgery unit was designed to perform between 300 and 400 operations per year, but it only does about 150 to 175 per year, Partners told The Boston Globe.

The low volume of heart surgeries performed at North Shore actually contributes to higher prices. Partners spokesman Rich Copp told The Boston Globe it costs $10,000 more to do an operation at NorthShore than Massachusetts GeneralHospital.

"When appropriate, the goal is always to keep care in the community, but this is a situation where the practice of medicine has changed, and at the same time we have an obligation and a responsibility to do what we can to lower healthcare costs," said Mr. Copp, according to the report.

Mr. Copp acknowledged Partners will get paid more for heart surgeries at Massachusetts GeneralHospital than NorthShore, as large teaching hospitals are typically paid more than smaller community hospitals for the same medical procedures and services. Furthermore, state reports show teaching hospitals — such as those owned by Partners — use their market power to gain higher reimbursement from payers, according to the report.

While most of the health system's heart surgery patients are on Medicare, which pays similar rates to Massachusetts General Hospital and North Shore, the transition is expected to bring in up to $1 million more in annual revenue for Massachusetts General Hospital from patients with private insurance, according to the report.

Copyright © 2021 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.

 

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars