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Rivals, consumer groups watching hospital deals

The Boston Globe, December 10, 2010

Consumer advocates and competing hospitals yesterday said they will closely monitor Steward Health Care Systems LLC’s proposed acquisition of Merrimack Valley Hospital, of Haverhill, and Nashoba Valley Medical Center, of Ayer, for an undisclosed sum.

“We will focus on what this means for the communities and the health care they receive,’’ said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care for All, a Boston consumer advocacy group. “We want to listen carefully to the patient experience to make sure there are no barriers to care and the services people depend on.’’

Donald K. Stern, a Boston lawyer who represents Merrimack Valley rival Lawrence General Hospital and other hospitals, called on the attorney general’s office to assess the purchase deal as part of its oversight of Steward.

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