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Merger with Partners HealthCare

October 1, 2014:

On Sept. 29 Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders scheduled a November hearing and extended the public comment period regarding the amended consent judgment between the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and Partners HealthCare, which would make it possible for South Shore Hospital to join Partners. 

The Judge’s decision followed briefings by the AGO, Partners HealthCare, South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health, outlining the merits of the consent judgment. 

Key upcoming dates are as follows:

Oct. 21 is the last day that the public may comment on the amended consent judgment. You may submit comments via mail or fax: 

Mail:
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Attn: Antitrust Division
One Ashburton Place, 18th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Fax:
Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
(617) 722-0184

Oct. 31 is when the AGO must formally submit the public comments to Suffolk Superior Court.

Nov. 10 is when the Suffolk Superior Court has scheduled a hearing to determine next steps in the Court process.

September 5, 2014:
Earlier this summer, we invited you to once again voice your support for our plans to join Partners HealthCare. At that time, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office (AGO) had just filed a consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court that would make it possible for us to become a member of Partners. The judge subsequently ruled that the AGO must accept public comments about the consent judgment before the Court would act on it.

Hundreds of you submitted comments either directly to the AGO, or to us for delivery on your behalf. Those comments have been submitted along with a letter from Richard Aubut, president and chief executive officer of South Shore Health and Educational Corporation. We are grateful for the time you took to make your voice heard.

Our merger plans are expected to continue to make headlines in the weeks ahead:

Sept. 15 is the last day that the public may comment on the consent judgment
Sept. 25 is when the Attorney General must formally submit the public comments to Suffolk Superior Court
Sept. 29 is when the Suffolk Superior Court has scheduled a status date to determine next steps in the Court process

July 18, 2014:
The regulatory review process surrounding our plans to join Partners HealthCare continues to rapidly evolve, and I am writing to provide you with the most recent developments.

July 17, 2014: 
The Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) asked the court to reschedule a hearing on the consent judgment regarding our proposed merger with Partners HealthCare. The AG indicated in her request that she wanted time to consider a Cost and Market Impact Review (CMIR) by the Health Policy Commission (HPC) on the proposed merger between Hallmark Health and Partners HealthCare, as well as make more efficient use of the court’s time.

The Judge granted the request, and set September 29, 2014 as a “status” hearing where next steps will be determined. In addition, the Judge extended the public comment period on the consent judgment to September 15. The AG’s office will now have until September 25, 2014 to submit all public comments to the Court, along with its own response.

June 30, 2014: 
Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders denied a motion by a coalition of health care providers to block the agreement. Judge Sanders also ruled that the AGO must accept public comments about the consent judgment, and set a 21-day comment period.

June 24, 2014: 
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) filed a consent judgment  in Suffolk Superior Court. The filing was an expected part of the regulatory review process and was a follow-up to the “agreement in principle” that the AGO announced it had reached with Partners in May.

The agreement addresses our merger, as well as matters between the AGO and Partners that are unrelated to our organization. It puts in place the framework through which we can become a member of Partners to improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of quality care for the people of our region.

I recognize that the regulatory review process has taken longer than anticipated and the continued patience and support you have shown is truly appreciated. Your commitment will result in a healthier future for your patients, family, friends and neighbors here on the South Shore, and will help sustain our charity for generations to come. 

I ask that you again voice your support for our proposed merger and the coordination of health care, lowering of costs and improvement of health care access and quality--as others raise their voices in opposition. Please consider submitting your comments, even if you have previously done so, to the Attorney General’s Office. Comments may be submitted three ways:

Mail

Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General
Attn: Antitrust Division
One Ashburton Place, 18th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Fax:
(617) 722-0184 


May 27, 2014:
Our plans to join Partners HealthCare have been approved as part of an “agreement-in-principal” that has been reached between the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and Partners. The agreement, which still must be finalized in the weeks ahead, outlines several conditions that align with our commitment to contain health care costs, as well as to improve the local accessibility and availability of high quality health care.

Moving forward with our merger will substantially enhance our ability to fulfill our charitable mission for the people of the South Shore. By joining Partners and working even more closely with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we will improve local access to primary and specialty care, support patient care being delivered in lower-cost community settings, and work within new payment models that focus on the quality of care. 

May 19, 2014:
“We are pleased with today’s announcement by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office that the regulatory reviews of our plans to join Partners HealthCare are nearing conclusion, and that we will be able to move forward with our merger. 

Our merger’s approval is part of a larger Agreement-in-Principle that has been reached between the Attorney General and Partners.  The conditions in the agreement align with our commitment to contain health care costs, as well as to improve the local accessibility and availability of high quality health care.  

Once the regulatory reviews formally conclude in the next several weeks, we will address the numerous details associated with formally joining Partners.  We expect that process will take several more months to finalize. 

Moving ahead with our merger will substantially enhance our ability to fulfill our charitable mission for the people of the South Shore.  By joining Partners and working even more closely with Brigham and Women's Hospital, we will improve local access to primary and specialty care, support patient care being delivered in lower-cost community settings, and work within new payment models that focus on the quality of care. 

The expressions of community support of the merger were invaluable during the regulatory review process and will make it possible for our charity to advance the health and well-being of our region now — and for generations to come.”

Richard H. Aubut
President and CEO
South Shore Health and Educational Corporation

 

A STRONGER AND HEALTHIER SOUTH SHORE
South Shore Hospital merger with Partners HealthCare
designed to further improve care for South Shore residents

Almost two years ago, South Shore Hospital’s leadership and its volunteer, community based Board of Directors began exploring ways to assure that South Shore residents would continue to have access to outstanding care in a local setting.  A merger between South Shore Hospital and Partners HealthCare was determined to be the best way to achieve that goal and for the past year we have been moving plans forward to turn this vision into a reality. 

We are as confident today as the day we announced our plans that this merger will help our hospital better care for the South Shore community.  South Shore Hospital and Partners HealthCare share a vision to improve the coordination and accessibility of care, as well as to help slow the growth of costs through more coordinated care with a focus on the health of the community as a whole.  

As a not-for-profit, community based hospital, South Shore Hospital has a simple mission:  to promote good health through healing, caring and comforting.  Our doctors, clinicians and colleagues do an outstanding job every day in meeting this mission—but health care is changing.  It is critical that the community has access to quality primary care physicians, preventive health services, emergency care and highly specialized care for when an unimaginable health care crisis strikes you and your family.

To succeed in serving our patients and our community, South Shore Hospital can’t achieve these aims on its own.  It takes an integrated health network—the type of system that we envision creating for our community, as a member of Partners. Partners HealthCare, which, like South Shore Hospital, provides high quality care, is a national leader in Population Health Management with considerable expertise and experience. Being part of a larger network will far more effectively allow us to care for our community.  To that end, we have proposed this merger with Partners HealthCare. 

Goals of the Merger:

  • Advance South Shore Hospital’s ability to fulfill our mission and provide quality care to our community
  • Enhance the patient care experience
  • Expand access to the services local residents can receive in a community setting
  • Support our physicians in their efforts to rethink patient care in a way that addresses the needs of the whole person
  • Create an integrated network that assures that patients can receive care seamlessly from different clinicians depending on their needs
  • Slow the growth of health care costs by providing care in lower cost settings, focus on Population Health Management and limiting unnecessary hospitalizations
  • Maintain the principles of a not-for-profit hospital and the benefits of community-based control of South Shore Hospital
    

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