Planned to write a post linking to the wave of endorsements and opposition to the proposed expansion at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, but the Globe columnist Joan Vennochi did it for me. Her opinion piece links to the various supporters -Gov. Charlie Globe’s staff editorial endorsing the plan. BHN is in the reporting, not the endorsing, business. So, FYI.
The need for Children’s to renovate old quarters is not in dispute. But its expansion needs are open to question. Children’s says it will fill beds from national and international referral sources. But it has been working to expand its referral network in Massachusetts. In the past 24 months, Children’s has filed numerous notices of material change about new arrangements to either acquire physicians or become the preferred provider. That suggests the hospital expects to take volume from the current marketplace. At the same time, it will drive up costs, since the hospital has also said it expects to get commercial insurance and Medicaid rate increases every year.
As the Children’s plan moves forward, Massachusetts is under pressure to reduce state health care costs, with spending on Medicaid — the health program for the poor and disabled — already flagged as a trouble spot.
Competitors like Tufts Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital — which is part of the Partners network — are also worried that a larger Children’s will dominate the pediatric hospital landscape. To add to the intrigue, Jack Connors, who was chairman of the Partners board from 1996 to 2012, is backing Children’s and essentially undercutting the concerns of MGH doctors. “If you’re successful in business, you grow,” Connors told the Globe.
Ah, business. In the end, is that what this is all about?