This story was reported by Globe Spotlight Team members Scott Allen, Marcella Bombardieri, Michael Rezendes, and editor Thomas Farragher, as well as Liz Kowalczyk and Jeffrey Krasner of the Globe staff. It was written by Farragher and Kowalczyk, and was originally published on Dec. 21, 2008.
It was a gala affair with fancy finger food, festive balloons, and 150 guests mingling beneath a tent on a construction site where heavy machines had already begun to carve the earth.
When Partners HealthCare Inc. broke ground on its enormous $144 million outpatient center in Danvers in September 2007, guests were invited to sign a steel I-beam that would help form the clinic's sturdy frame. Company officials talked about transforming medical care on the North Shore. There was warm applause and congratulations.
But just five miles down the road, the event was greeted with consternation. More than that, with fear.
Beverly Hospital officials were just weeks from cutting the ribbon on an outpatient clinic of their own - a sparkling $30 million medical-surgery center - and worrying about their ability to compete against the deep pockets of Partners. They also felt sure they were being punished for an earlier collision of interests that angered the giant.
As Dr. Henry A. Frissora, a surgeon at Beverly Hospital, would later say about Partners' expansion into the suburbs: "It seems like they want the whole pie now."
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