Two business groups on Wednesday urged state officials to reject a controversial plan by Boston Children’s Hospital to expand its campus, warning that the $1 billion project would result in higher medical costs for employers.
In a letter to the public health commissioner, Monica Bharel, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts and the National Federation of Independent Business said the project “raises legitimate concerns that health care costs will increase, with no correlating direct improvement or change in the overall quality of care.”
Children’s, one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation, is also the biggest and most expensive in Massachusetts. It is seeking to add an 11-story building and 71 beds to its Boston campus and has said the plan is critical to meet rising demand from patients with increasingly complex medical needs.
“High prices, plus greater market leverage results in unaffordable cost increases for small businesses, consumers, and taxpayers,” the business groups said. “We have been talking about these issues for a decade. It is time for our government officials to stand with our consumers and our taxpayers.”
Last week, two other groups raised objections. The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, which represents insurance companies, and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization voiced their opposition after the Health Policy Commission, a state watchdog agency, said the project is likely to raise health care spending statewide.
The project is also under fire from activists who are trying to preserve the Prouty Garden, a green space that would be demolished to make room for new construction, and from hospitals that compete with Children’s.
The Department of Public Health has recommended approving the project, but with conditions designed to prevent Children’s from imposing excessive costs on patients and consumers. A state panel chaired by Bharel is scheduled to vote on the project on Oct. 20.