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Lahey Health, Winchester Hospital Make Partnership Official

Burlington, Mass.-based Lahey Health and Winchester (Mass.) Hospital have made their partnership official after an extensive review of the proposed affiliation by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.

Lahey signed a letter of intent last June to affiliate with Winchester Hospital, and the two organizations reached a formal agreement in September.

Last December, the Health Policy Commission announced it would conduct a cost and market impact study of the proposed affiliation of Lahey and Winchester Hospital. The commission had two major concerns with the proposed partnership. The first was that the affiliation would allow the two organizations to raise prices and ask for higher reimbursement from private health insurers. Second, the commission was concerned Lahey could drive up medical spending by adding facility fees to the hospital's service bills.

After review, the Health Policy Commission voted to approve the affiliation agreement and recognized that Lahey and Winchester Hospital had demonstrated the ability to ensure care is delivered in the most cost-effective setting.

Under the agreement, which is not a full-scale merger or acquisition, 229-bed Winchester Hospital has joined Lahey as part of a shared governance model.

"We are thrilled to officially welcome Winchester Hospital into the Lahey Health family," said Howard Grant, MD, president and CEO of Lahey Health, in a news release. "Together we will deliver on our commitment to provide greater value, higher-quality care and improved programs and services to the thousands of area residents who rely on us for their healthcare needs."

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