400 physicians cut ties with Partners for crosstown rival: Tufts

Nearly 400 physicians from Medford, Mass.-based Hallmark Health System have decided to end their longtime affiliation with Boston-based Partners HealthCare to join Tufts Medical Center, a rival physician network, according to The Boston Globe.

The decision comes a month after Hallmark announced it would pursue a merger with Tuft's parent company.

The Hallmark physicians would join Tuft's physician network — the New England Quality Care Alliance — Jan. 1, pending regulatory approval, according to the report.

NEQCA is comprised of about 1,800 physicians. Because physicians tend to refer patients in need of specialty care to hospitals within their own networks, the deal could result in more referrals to Tufts and fewer to Partners' hospitals, according to the report.

Hallmark's physician group and Partners have been affiliated for two decades. Hallmark sought to be acquired by Partners for the past three years, but called of the plan in December 2015 because of antitrust concerns.

Hallmark and Tufts' plan to affiliate will be monitored by the Health Policy Commission, the state agency that provides regulatory approval on healthcare transactions.

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