Trustees at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton have voted to negotiate a merger with Massachusetts General Hospital, an alliance that would extend the reach of Mass. General and its powerful parent, Partners HealthCare, beyond Eastern Massachusetts.
The deal could send more Cooley Dickinson patients to Boston to receive treatment for cancer, heart disease, and other conditions, boosting Mass. General traffic at a time when it is under pressure from lower-cost competitors. It might also take business away from Baystate Health, the Springfield health care system that now treats patients referred by Cooley Dickinson and had hoped to acquire it.