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Analysis

Beth Israel Lahey Health Completes Merger: 'Just the Beginning'

By Steven Porter  
   March 01, 2019

Some had worried the merger would drive prices higher and reduce healthcare access, so state regulators imposed a seven-year price cap and other conditions.

The merger of two major health systems in Massachusetts became official on Friday, forming Boston-based Beth Israel Lahey Health.

"This is just the beginning of our journey to transform health care in Massachusetts into what we know it can and should be," President and CEO Kevin Tabb, MD, said in a statement Friday.

The combined organization has 13 hospitals, including four academic and teaching hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine. It also employs more than 800 primary care doctors and 3,500 specialty physicians.

The tie-up won conditional approval last November from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who reached a settlement that includes a seven-year price cap to guarantee that BILH keeps its price increases below the state's healthcare cost growth benchmark.

The Federal Trade Commission decided to close its investigation in light of Healey's settlement.

Some had worried the merger would drive prices higher and reduce healthcare access after a report by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission found the deal would increases costs by $231 million annually and put pressure on smaller hospitals.

The formation of BILH comes as another Boston-based health system, Partners HealthCare, eyes a major target of its own: Care New England, based in Providence, Rhode Island.

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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