Managing Principal Tasneem Chipty Contributes to Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Report on Partners HealthCare System’s Proposed Acquisition of South Shore Hospital

March 05, 2014

The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) reviewed Partners's proposed acquisitions of South Shore Hospital (SSH) and Harbor Medical Associates. In its final report, approved unanimously by its board at a public hearing on February 19, 2014, the HPC concluded that the proposed transactions "will increase health care spending, likely reduce market competition, and result in increased premiums for employers and consumers" and, as such, warrant further review by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office (AGO).

The HPC was established in 2012 by the Commonwealth's landmark health care cost containment law, Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, "An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs through Increased Transparency, Efficiency, and Innovation." The Commission is charged with developing health policy to reduce overall cost growth while improving the quality of care, and monitoring the health care delivery and payment systems in Massachusetts. As part of this effort, the HPC can engage in more comprehensive reviews -- called "cost and market impact reviews" (CMIRs) -- of particular transactions anticipated to have a significant impact on health care costs or market functioning.

Analysis Group Managing Principal Tasneem Chipty serves as an expert advisor to the HPC. She and an Analysis Group team including Managers Daniel Andersen and Kristen Comeaux participated in the HPC's first CMIR, assessing the likely competitive effects of Partners's acquisition of SSH. Based on this analysis, Dr. Chipty explained that SSH and Partners hospitals are the top two choices for both tertiary and non-tertiary inpatient care for residents living in the SSH primary service area. In her summary report to the Commission, Dr. Chipty said, "[T]his evidence by itself indicates the likelihood of substantial head-to-head competition between South Shore Hospital and Partners, making it more difficult for either to raise prices to insurers serving this set of Massachusetts." She concluded, "Partners's acquisition of South Shore Hospital would eliminate this competition, with a corresponding potential for the parties to increase prices."

The HPC has no authority to block the Partners deal, but it has referred its findings to the Massachusetts AGO for review. The AGO and the U.S. Department of Justice have been conducting their own investigations into Partners's expansion in Massachusetts, and those efforts continue.

Read the report