Mass General Brigham halts controversial $223.7M ASC expansion plans

Boston-based Mass General Brigham has halted its controversial $223.7 million plans to build three suburban ASCs, Mass Live reported April 2. 

The decision comes after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said it would not recommend the plans for approval, according to Mass Live. A 75-page analysis from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, an independent state agency, found that the expansions would increase commercial healthcare spending by at least $46 million to $90.1 million.

The agency said the three proposals would result in a hike in commercial healthcare spending and cause patients to go to the higher-cost Mass General system and away from other lower-cost providers. 

Mass General Brigham had planned three ASCs in Massachusetts, in Westborough, Westwood and Woburn, that would offer surgery, physician services and diagnostic imaging. 

The opposition to the project spans the last year. In April 2021, a coalition of healthcare providers, community groups and business groups was created to oppose the plan. The coalition included healthcare providers Wellforce, Shields Health Care Group and UMass Memorial Health, as well as 12 other community and business groups.

Additionally, there have been several conflicting cost analysis reports released regarding  the project. In November, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey released a report showing the expansion plan would raise healthcare costs and generate about $385 million in profits a year for the hospital. Another report, from Sean May, PhD, of Charles River Associates, said the plan to build three ASCs would lower healthcare prices.

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