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BMC chief makes case for merger with Tufts

A merger between Boston Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center could provide more money to invest in care, a larger referral network to attract new patients, and more favorable contracts with insurers, according to BMC’s chief executive, Kate Walsh.

In a note to more than 4,700 employees, Walsh listed several benefits of a potential partnership with Tufts. The two hospitals, which sit roughly a mile apart, are in talks to explore a merger, the Globe reported Thursday.

“Health care delivery is rapidly consolidating,” Walsh said. “Our competitors are actively exploring partnerships as a strategy to remain competitive. As an institution, we too need to proactively position ourselves for long-term success and stability, and we therefore evaluate similar partnerships on an ongoing basis.”

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BMC has not participated in big deals with other hospitals, while its competitors have expanded their networks. Tufts merged with Lowell General Hospital this year, creating a new parent company called Wellforce.

“We know that for the future we need to grow even more,” Tufts chief Dr. Michael Wagner wrote to the system’s 5,000 employees. “I look forward to continuing our conversations with BMC to see how together we might change the future of health care.”

If BMC and Tufts merge, it would be the biggest alliance of Boston teaching hospitals in nearly 20 years.

The state Health Policy Commission, which reviews hospital mergers, said Thursday that it has not yet received any notice from BMC and Tufts.

“The proposed merger of Tufts Medical Center and Boston Medical Center would constitute a significant change in the Massachusetts health care market, and the HPC looks forward to reviewing the details of any proposed merger,” the agency said.


Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey @globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.