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    Partners HealthCare merger holds true benefits for communities

    The Partners HealthCare plan to affiliate with South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health has been misrepresented in a myriad of ways. We want to set the record straight. In the public conversation, there has been little acknowledgment of the true benefits to the communities we propose to serve. At their request, we will work with the local hospitals, to coordinate care, improve quality and lower costs for patients.

    We have heard from supporters of our plan and from those against it who suggest we will significantly increase costs if we are permitted to consummate these partnerships. The truth is we will not. In our agreement with the Massachusetts attorney general, these hospitals will have individual insurance contracts, with our prices capped at general inflation, for six and a half years. Over this period of time, there is no one who believes that that status quo will remain. New payment models and price transparency are emerging; we will lose patients and trusted referral sources if our costs are too high.

    In last Sunday’s op-ed, “Hit the brakes on Partners HealthCare deal” (Opinion, Oct. 19), Dr. Donald Berwick presented misinformation in his review of our affiliation proposal, writing that the state agency responsible for tracking the growth of health care costs (the Center for Health Information and Analysis) showed that Partners exceeded the benchmark of 3.6 percent for all three Massachusetts insurers. That is simply not true.

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    Berwick also failed to portray accurately the role of the Department of Justice. The department has coordinated closely with the attorney general throughout her investigation and has stated that it supports the attorney general’s efforts and the conclusions reached.

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    While Berwick describes Partners as “spectacular,” he suggests that we should wait three years with our plan. But should patients have to wait to begin coordinating their care with the excellent medical services of Brigham and Women’s, Massachusetts General, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, and McLean Hospital?

    It is more expensive to provide this level of care, but is there one of us who doesn’t want these resources available for our families and our community?

    Dr. Gary Gottlieb

    President and CEO,
    Partners Health Care

    Boston