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Beth Israel Deaconess-Lahey Health deal will be subject to conditions, AG says

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office said the proposed merger between Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Burlington, Mass.-based Lahey Health and three other healthcare organizations will be subject to conditions if the deal is successful, The Boston Globe reports.

Here are five things to know:

1. The attorney general's office and the Massachusetts Department of Health signaled they are drafting conditions for the proposed transaction after a government watchdog agency, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, released its final report analyzing the proposed deal Sept. 27. The agency voted to send its critical findings to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey for further review.

"We share [the commission's] concerns and are currently engaged in ongoing discussions with BI-Lahey representatives on enforceable conditions to address cost and access concerns, particularly for low-income communities and communities of color," a spokesperson for the attorney general's office told The Boston Globe Sept. 27.

2. The Health Policy Commission's preliminary findings, which were released in July, stated the proposed transaction would increase health spending by between $128.4 million and $170.8 million per year for inpatient, outpatient and adult primary care services. Spending on other medical services could also increase by an additional $29.8 million to $59.7 million per year.

3. After the release of the HPC's July findings, Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Health voiced their opposition to the results, stating they were "grossly overstated."

4. Commissioners said Sept. 27 that the five hospitals included in the deal overstated the proposed savings and failed to provide new information to change the agency's prediction the deal would lead to higher health spending. The commission also asked the state department of public health to reconsider its approval of the merger, which it granted in April.

5. The hospitals, which first revealed their intent to merge last year, said the deal would create a high-quality, low-cost alternative to Boston-based Partners HealthCare, the state's largest health system. If the deal is successful, the combined Beth Israel Deaconess-Lahey Health system would have a market share similar to Partners'.

"We believe that ultimately [the commission's] concerns, while rational and legitimate, can be addressed . . . prior to our ultimately coming together and doing something that we think will be better for everybody in the Commonwealth," Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Kevin Tabb, MD, told The Boston Globe Sept. 27.

To access the full report, click here.

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