Massachusetts Miracle

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Health care's new maverick

Steward Health Care System's Ralph de la Torre is building a model for the future. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, August 2, 2012 What's the future of American health care? Dr. Ralph de la Torre, CEO of Steward Health Care System, may represent the answer. Steward, owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, is a growing Massachusetts-based group of community hospitals, and industry analysts say de la Torre is one of the most dynamic and influential executives in the business. He's consolidating hospitals, finding efficiencies, investing big in infotech, and creating a new model that he says won't change much regardless of how Obamacare's future plays out. ... Health

Steward ads promote its 'new health care'

Message emphasizes Steward brand over individual hospitals. Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth, August 1, 2012 Steward Health Care is using the Olympics to hone its image. The Boston-based chain of 10 community hospitals, many of which were on the verge of going under when Steward acquired them, is running a series of ads on WHDH-TV (Channel 7) during Olympics coverage that cast the company as a delivery system for a new type of world-class health care. The powerful ads, shot on location at Steward hospitals in Norwood, Quincy and Brockton are attracting attention because of their message and the significant financial outlay they represent. ... Steward

Massachusetts health cost-control bill contains first-in-nation fund for prevention programs

Kay Lazar, Boston Globe, August 1, 2012 A coalition of consumer and public health groups applauded the inclusion of money in the health cost-control bill adopted by lawmakers Tuesday to pay for programs to stem chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease that are fueling the growth of medical costs. The $60 million earmarked over the next four years for the Prevention and Wellness Trust - believed to be the first such state-based prevention fund in the nation - will be paid for by a tax on insurers and an assessment on some larger hospitals. ... Massachusetts

Blue Cross responds to Steward’s attacks

Richard Asinof, Providence Business News, August 1, 2012

Providence – After enduring two weeks of attacks in what he termed a “distasteful,” “fear-mongering” and “mud-slinging” media campaign from Boston-based for-profit hospital network Steward Health Care, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island President and CEO Peter Andruszkiewicz visited Providence Business News on July 31 to respond and present the health insurer’s point of view.

AG sets August 31 as new deadline for Landmark deal

Richard Asinof, Providence Business News, July 31, 2012

Providence – The RI Attorney General’s office moved its deadline to August 31 for the closing of the pending sale of Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket to Steward Health Care, the Boston-based for-profit hospital network owned by a private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management.

When the RI Attorney General’s office announced its approval on May 25 of the Hospital Conversions Act application by Steward for the purchase of Landmark, it stated, as Condition No. 4, “the closing will take place within 60 days of this decision.”

Lawmakers pass health care cost-control bill; governor says he will sign it

Chelsea Conaboy, Boston Globe, July 31, 2012 Lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a 350-page health care cost-control bill Tuesday afternoon, a compromise between House and Senate leaders that sets spending targets for hospitals and doctors in the state and penalizes those that exceed them. Governor Deval Patrick said he would sign the bill. “This is more than a good bill; this is a great bill ... to extend coverage to everybody and to do it in a hybrid system with an emphasis on private-sector insurance with subsidies for those who can’t afford it. And now we’re going to crack the code on cost control.” ... Lawmakers

Digesting the health care compromise bill

Chelsea Conaboy, Boston Globe July 31, 2012 Lawmakers are expected to vote Tuesday on a 350-page bill that would make Massachusetts the first state to impose limits on how much health care providers can spend on medical costs. It’s a complicated, far-reaching bill that depends on the state’s ability to collect massive amounts of data and to make it usable by regulators and consumers. Leaders in the House and Senate prepared summaries of key provisions in the bill. Below, see some early reaction from consumer advocates and others. ... Digesting

Landmark Caught In Middle Of National Insurance Reimbursement Struggle

Steward's deadline to buy hospital stretched as officials, court argue over rates. Rob Borkowski, Woonsocket Patch, July 31, 2012 Landmark officials claim low Blue Cross Blue Shield reimbursement rates sank the non-profit hospital, and renegotiating with Steward Healthcare's market power has failed, placing the institution on the losing end of both sides of a national struggle. Yesterday, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin extended Steward Healthcare's deadline for closing on the purchase of Landmark Medical Center to August 31 instead of waiving it as the hospital network requested. ... Landmark

Steward asks for extension of deadline to close on sale

Russ Olivo, Woonsocket Call, July 28, 2012 Providence – Steward Health Care has asked Attorney General Peter Kilmartin to extend yesterday’s deadline for the for-profit hospital chain to close on the sale of Landmark Medical Center. Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for Kilmartin, said the office will make a decision on Monday after reviewing the request. The attorney general had given Steward 60 days to close on the sale as a condition of approval under the Hospital Conversions Act. Kempe suggested the attorney general was frustrated by the timing of the request, however, suggesting he would have expected Steward to have asked for it sooner, given the urgency of the sale. ... Steward

No resolution reached in Landmark hearing

Richard Asinof, Providence Business News, July 27, 2012

Providence – With today’s deadline set by the RI Attorney General’s about to expire for closing the deal on Steward Health Care’s purchase of Landmark Medical Center and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island, much of the discussion in Superior Court before Judge Michael A. Silverstein at the scheduled hearing today occurred in the judge’s chambers or in sidebars with the judge.

Afterward, the parties – including Jodi Bourque representing the Attorney General and Bill Fischer, the public relations consultant representing Special Master Jonathan N. Savage – all declined comment.

Brockton doctors featured in Olympics commercial

Alex Bloom, Brockton Enterprise, July 27, 2012 Brockton - They won’t be at the opening ceremonies, but a couple of Brockton doctors will appear on local television screens Friday night during the Summer Olympics. Brockton’s Good Samaritan Medical Center, owned by Steward Health Care, will be featured in a Steward commercial debuting during Friday’s opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. The “I am a Steward of the New Health Care” ad campaign, will have a 60-second commercial running Friday night on Boston’s NBC affiliate WHDH-TV as the station airs the ceremonies. ... Brockton

A $6.7 million federal grant to UMass Medical to battle health disparities

Kay Lazar, Boston Globe, July 26, 2012 Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School say they will use a new $6.7 million grant to battle significant health disparities in the region by using a grassroots approach that features patients telling their stories to inspire others. The school announced Thursday that it was awarded a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a new Health Equity Intervention Research Center with scientists from UMass Boston. ... A

David Blumenthal to leave Partners HealthCare to head Commonwealth Fund

Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, July 26, 2012 Doctor David Blumenthal, one of the nation’s leading health information technology experts, will leave Partners HealthCare at the end of this year to head The Commonwealth Fund based in New York City. Blumenthal is a professor at Harvard Medical School and chief health information and innovation officer at Partners. He was US National Coordinator for Health Information Technology under President Obama from 2009 to 2011, with the charge of building a nationwide health information system. ... David

Governor Deval Patrick proposes new way to target health care providers that abuse market power

Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, July 25, 2012 As legislative leaders go down to the wire negotiating a major health care cost-control bill, Governor Deval Patrick has proposed a new approach for targeting large, expensive hospitals and doctors groups that may be driving up fees by abusing their market power. The governor’s plan requires the administration to conduct a “cost and market impact review’’ of any medical provider it suspects is engaging in or plans to engage in anti-competitive behavior. ... Governor

Mayor Asks AG To Investigate Blue Cross Reimbursement Rate Negotiations With Landmark

Fontaine: Insurer using market dominance to bully hospital out of existence. Rob Borkowski, Woonsocket Patch, July 25, 2012 Mayor Leo Fontaine has added his voice to those calling for fair reimbursement rates from Blue Cross Blue Shield RI for Landmark Medical Center, asking Attorney General Peter Kilmartin to review the now-stalled negotiations. Fontaine said he's asked Kilmartin to investigate whether the insurer has violated anti-trust law. ... Mayor

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