Mass. hospital group to defend expansion

BOSTON (AP) — The largest hospital and physician network in Massachusetts is defending its plan to merge with Weymouth’s South Shore Hospital and a related doctors’ group, saying it save about $27 million annually in health care costs.

Partners HealthCare, under growing pressure from regulators to abandon expansion plans, contends that a state commission’s preliminary report criticizing the deal as costly and anticompetitive uses flawed reasoning and contains “inexplicable omissions.”

The rebuttal Friday says the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission’s analysis concluding that the merger would give Partners too much market power is absurd.

The health care organization provided an advance copy to The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/1eQgZg1 ).

Stuart Altman, a professor of health policy at Brandeis University and the commission’s chairman, would not comment on the report Thursday because he had not read it.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

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