Sponsored by VMG Health | info@vmghealth.com | 214.369.4888

Tufts CEO slams Beth Israel Deaconess, Lahey Health merger: 'Merger would siphon remaining commercial patients'

Boston-based Tufts Medical Center President and CEO Michael Wagner, MD, criticized the proposed merger between Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Burlington, Mass.-based Lahey Health and three other health systems during a Boston City Council meeting April 10, arguing the proposed deal would increase costs and widen healthcare disparities among patient populations, The Boston Globe reports.

Executives at Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Health have said the proposed deal will lower healthcare costs and draw patients away from higher-priced hospitals and facilities within the Boston-based Partners HealthCare network, currently the largest hospital system in the area.

However, Dr. Wagner claimed their rationale is a "false argument," according to the report. Tufts, a teaching hospital, already competes with Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Health, but serves a higher proportion of Medicaid patients.

"The new combined Beth Israel-Lahey system would likely siphon the remaining commercial patients from non-Partners hospitals, community health centers and physicians. This possibility is more likely to occur than the argument being proposed that they will move market share from Partners," Dr. Wagner said, adding the deal would create a "duopoly," in which Partners and the merged health system would dominate the market and likely raise prices to attract physicians.

"I have great respect for these two organizations, but I have grave concerns about what the merger of these two systems could do to healthcare costs and access," he said.

Dr. Wagner's comments during the meeting represent the first time a competitor has spoken out against the proposed deal. City councilors reportedly invited representatives from Boston-based Steward Health Care to the meeting, but health system officials did not show, according to the report.

The proposed Beth Israel Deaconess-Lahey Health combination received its second state approval last week. If successful, the deal would create a 13-hospital system.

When asked about how the proposed transaction would affect employees at the organizations involved, attorneys for Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Health said, "There are not going to be any layoffs to people who touch patients," the report states.

To access the full Boston Globe report, click here.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.