For Immediate Release - July 07, 2017

HPC Statement on Cost and Market Impact Review (CMIR) of Pending Partners-Mass Eye and Ear Transaction

Statement from Matt Kitsos, Press Secretary, Massachusetts Health Policy Commission:

“In June 2017, the HPC received completed notices of Partners HealthCare System’s (Partners) plans to acquire the Foundation of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Inc. (MEE), including its specialty hospital, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), and its physician organization, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Associates, Inc. (MEEA).

The HPC conducted an initial review and identified the potential for the transaction to result in meaningful impacts on health care costs and the competitive market. Further, the addition of the state’s only eye, ear, nose, and throat specialty hospital  to the Partners system raises important questions for examination and public consideration. As a result, today the HPC initiated a cost and market impact review, which will objectively examine all aspects of the proposed transaction in order to better understand the potential impacts on health care costs, market functioning, quality, and access. The findings from this review will be detailed in a public report.

The next step in this process will take place at the HPC Board meeting on July 26, 2017. Staff will present the results of its initial review and ask commissioners to authorize the continuation of this comprehensive review.”

The HPC Board Meeting will be held on July 26, 2017 at 12:00 PM at the HPC’s offices at 50 Milk Street, 8th Floor. The full meeting agenda is posted here.   

Background:

The HPC is an independent state agency governed by an 11-member board with diverse experience in health care. The HPC's mission is to advance a more transparent, accountable, and innovative health care system. As part of its work to achieve this mission, the HPC is tasked with monitoring and reviewing material changes within the health care marketplace, including mergers, acquisitions, and new affiliations. The HPC may also engage in a more comprehensive review of particular transactions anticipated to have a significant impact on health care costs or market functioning. The result of such “cost and market impact reviews” (CMIRs) is a public report detailing the HPC’s findings. These robust, data-driven reviews detail the impact of proposed changes on costs and market functioning, on the Commonwealth’s ability to meet the benchmark, and on quality and access to care for consumers. Through this process, the HPC seeks to encourage providers and payers alike to evaluate and take steps to minimize negative impacts and enhance positive outcomes of any proposed change. While the HPC does not have the authority to block proposed transactions, in order to allow for public assessment of the findings, the transactions may not be finalized until the HPC issues its Final Report. Where appropriate, reports may identify areas for further review or monitoring, or be referred to other state agencies in support of their work on behalf of health care consumers.

In total, the HPC has conducted cost and market impact reviews of seven transactions since its inception in November 2012. The HPC has also received notices for an additional 71 transactions that did not proceed to a full cost and market impact review. All cost and market impact reviews and material change notices are posted on the HPC’s website here and here, respectively.