Payers speak out on proposed Mass General Brigham expansion

The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans is speaking out against the $2.3 billion proposed expansion of Boston-based health system Mass General Brigham, according to The Boston Globe.

MAHP, which is made up of the state's 15 largest payers except Blue Cross Blue Shield, sent a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health March 15 to condemn the project. MAHP says the state's largest provider should not be allowed to expand while also being the first to ever come under a state spending audit.

"We urge the Department of Public Health to reject the [expansion] applications, until such time as MGB addresses its system's high health care unit costs, cost structure and cost growth that continues to contribute to overall rising health care costs here in Massachusetts," MAHP President Lora Pellegrini told the Globe.

MGB is proposing new or expanded ambulatory facilities in Westborough, Westwood and Woburn, and an expansion of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain. The nonprofit health network says the project will allow for more patients at downtown hospitals and lower outpatient care costs for suburban patients, according to the Globe.

"MAHP's opposition is especially shortsighted as it will harm patients who are transferred from other Massachusetts hospitals to Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital for the complex care that an academic medical center provides," a spokesperson for Mass General Brigham told the Globe.

Approval of the project is expected from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Public Health Council later this year.

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