Mass General Brigham withdraws suburban expansion plan

Mass Gen Brigham officials said on Friday the hospital system had withdrawn its controversial proposal to build outpatient care centers in Woburn and Westborough and expand an existing facility in Westwood after learning Department of Health staff public would not recommend projects for approval.

The DPH, however, recommended that the Board of Public Health, with conditions, partially approve a project at Massachusetts General Hospital’s main campus in Boston and approve a project at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital.

“We look forward to engaging with the Board of Public Health and look forward to receiving their final approval of our plans to increase access to our world-class Boston teaching hospitals for patients who need the highest level of care. quality they provide,” MGB President and CEO Dr. Anne Klibanski said in a statement.

Senior officials of Mass hospitals. General and Faulkner said the extensions would reduce system capacity issues and better serve patients.

The trio of suburban outpatient clinics, which MGB had described as a way to enable its existing patients in these areas to receive services closer to home and at lower cost, have faced opposition from organizations grouped under the Coalition to Protect Community Care, including UMass Memorial Health, Wellforce, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Health Care for All, and chambers of commerce representing Worcester, Marlborough, Stoneham, Medford, and Melrose.

“We are delighted to hear that Mass General Brigham’s proposal to build outpatient centers in Westwood, Westborough and Woburn will not go ahead,” a coalition spokesman said on Friday evening. “We commend the Baker-Polito administration, the Department of Public Health, the Attorney General’s office, the Health Policy Commission, and the strong legislative support of both branches for their diligence and commitment to containing health care costs. health care providers, protect high-value community health care service providers, and improve health equity while this proposal was under consideration.”

The coalition argued that the plan would hurt the financial viability of local providers. In January, the state Health Policy Commission told the Department of Health’s Needs Determination Program that MGB’s expansion plans were likely to “[d]substantial patient volume and revenue to the higher cost MGB system, especially commercially insured volume, and likely away from other lower cost providers. »

The HPC, which separately asked MGB to implement a performance improvement plan aimed at controlling costs, said MGB’s proposed $2.25 billion expansion – the two hospital projects and ambulatory care centers – would increase commercial healthcare expenditures by up to $90.1 million per year. year.

MGB officials disputed the commission’s findings, which differed from a cost analysis carried out in December as part of the needs-determination process. The December analysis predicted that ambulatory care centers would lead to a “small overall decrease” in healthcare spending.

“After learning from the Department of Public Health that our outpatient proposal would not be recommended for approval, Mass General Brigham withdrew his proposal to build outpatient centers in Woburn and Westborough and to expand an existing center in Westwood “, said Klibanski. “Mass General Brigham remains committed to transforming the delivery of care so that our patients receive the right care in the right place at the lowest cost. We will continue to honor our commitment to provide the best care to the 227,000 patients we currently serve at Mass General Brigham. concerned by the decision of the Public Health Department.

Last month, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans urged DPH to deny MGB’s pending claims “until MGB addresses its underlying causes of rising costs and demonstrates a continued commitment to containing the costs starting with the successful implementation of a PIP”.

The Public Health Board meets on Wednesday and the MGB needs assessment reports are not on its agenda. The Department of Public Health said the reports would be posted online 30 days before nominations for the council were presented, a deadline that matches its May 4 meeting date.

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