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    Partners, Coakley still work toward settlement

    The deal would allow Partners HealthCare’s acquisition of South Shore Hospital in Weymouth (above) to move forward.
    South Shore Hospital
    The deal would allow Partners HealthCare’s acquisition of South Shore Hospital in Weymouth (above) to move forward.

    Representatives from state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office and Partners HealthCare System continue to haggle over terms of a final settlement that would allow Partners to acquire South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and at least two other community hospitals while limiting its further expansion and capping its prices for up to a decade.

    The parties, which reached an agreement in principle in May, had said they could file a final agreement with Suffolk Superior Court as early as this week. Though they missed that deadline, a flurry of activity at the end of this week suggested the final deal now could come as soon as next week, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

    “Both sides are continuing to negotiate based on the agreement in principle announced last month,” said Brad Puffer, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

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    The preliminary deal has drawn criticism from hospitals that compete with Partners-owned Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals as well as its network of doctors and community hospitals.

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    The competitors, as well as some health insurers and employer groups, have argued that the deal will do little to bring down the costs of health care. Coakley has promised the critics will have a chance to give their feedback on the settlement.

    Robert Weisman

    Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.