Beth Israel Lahey's physician-poaching is hindering Massachusetts hospital's reopening, its president says

A Massachusetts hospital temporarily closed by severe flood damage is accusing Boston-based Beth Israel Lahey Health of poaching its affiliated physicians and undermining its recovery efforts, according to the Boston Business Journal. 

Salvatore Perla, president of Norwood (Mass.) Hospital, claims that Beth Israel Lahey started a physician hiring campaign to target dozens of Norwood-affiliated physicians and practices. So far, two physicians under a contractual affiliation have been hired by Beth Israel, according to the report. 

Mr. Perla claims that the alleged poaching is hindering the community hospital's attempts to recover.

"[Beth Israel Lahey's] actions are directly undermining the Norwood Hospital recovery process in order to grow their market share of commercially insured patients," Mr. Perla told the Business Journal. "The BI-Lahey personnel involved in the poaching probably didn't think anyone would speak up — and while we understand the competitive nature of the healthcare marketplace, the actions of BI-Lahey in this instance show the danger of allowing high-cost mega-systems to run roughshod over community hospitals."

Jennifer Kritz, a spokesperson or Beth Israel Lahey Health, declined to comment on whether it has been targeting Norwood-affiliated physicians, but told the Business Journal that it is "not uncommon for physicians to explore professional opportunities that allow them to practice and serve their patients to the best of their abilities, particularly when an institution they are affiliated with is closed indefinitely."

Norwood Hospital has been closed since June 28 after water rose rapidly in the parking lot and reached as high as 4 feet in the hospital's basement, knocking out the electricity. After an inspection the hospital said it would need at least a year to repair damage incurred from the flood. 

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