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Dr. Howard Grant, chief executive of Lahey Health, at a Public Health Council hearing earlier this year.
Dr. Howard Grant, chief executive of Lahey Health, at a Public Health Council hearing earlier this year. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

As Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health pursue their big hospital merger, Lahey’s chief executive is stepping down.

Dr. Howard Grant will retire on Sept. 30, Lahey officials said Monday.

Lahey and Beth Israel Deaconess are planning a 13-hospital transaction that is still awaiting final approvals. Last month, the state Health Policy Commission warned that the merger could increase medical spending in Massachusetts by up to $191.3 million annually if the two companies merge and raise prices for their medical services. Attorney General Maura Healey also has warned that the merger could raise costs and threaten access to care, and has signaled that she may push for limits to the deal.

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Grant, 66, has argued that the two organizations combined into one will help to increase competition in the health care market by providing a counterweight to Partners HealthCare, the state’s largest network of doctors and hospitals.

“Without a transformative change in the market, all of the fundamental problems [in the health care market] will worsen,” Grant told the Health Policy Commission in July.

When Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey last year announced their intentions to merge, Grant said he was planning to retire and move back to Philadelphia, where he has family.

If the merger is completed, Dr. Kevin Tabb, chief executive of the Beth Israel Deaconess system, is slated to run the combined new hospital company, to be called Beth Israel Lahey Health. Grant’s job effectively would be phased out after the merger.

Until then, Dr. Richard Nesto, Lahey’s chief medical officer, will serve as interim chief executive of the Burlington-based Lahey system once Grant steps down at the end of next month.

Grant joined Lahey eight years ago as chief executive of the Lahey Clinic, which changed its name to Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. In 2012, he became chief executive of the hospital’s parent company, known as Lahey Health.

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Under Grant’s tenure, the Lahey system grew to include hospitals in Beverly, Gloucester, and Winchester. But Lahey also has faced financial struggles, with an operating loss of $65.6 million on about $2 billion of revenue in the 2017 fiscal year.

A spokesman for Grant said he was unavailable to talk on Monday. In a statement, Grant said: “The eight years that I have spent at Lahey Health have been deeply rewarding both personally and professionally.”


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