HPC Refers Partners-Mass Eye and Ear Merger to AG

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) last week issued its final review of the proposed merger between Partners HealthCare and Massachusetts Eye and Ear, indicating that it “is likely to increase health care spending due to expected increases in hospital and physician prices.” The HPC also stated that due to Partners’ “dominant market share,” it is mandated to refer the proposed merger to the Attorney General’s office for further review.

DPH is also reviewing the merger through its Determination of Need lens; the HPC said it will forward its final report on the transaction to DPH to assist it in its DoN review.

The HPC said that the merger will raise healthcare spending in the state between $20.8 million to $61.2 million per year. Partners said there would be an increase but not as great as the HPC estimates. Mass. Eye and Ear said that its finances have been weakened in the judgment of rating agencies and that it needs the merger for stability and to continue to provide high-quality care.

Partners said in a statement, “This partnership will strengthen the clinical and scientific relationships between our organizations and will make Mass. Eye and Ear services and research accessible to a broader population of patients.”