A three-year effort by Massachusetts’s powerful health care system, Partners HealthCare, to acquire South Shore Hospital has been abandoned. According to a statement from the state Attorney General Maura Healey, Partners is withdrawing its bid.
This move comes just a month after a deal between Partners and the former Attorney General Martha Coakley was rejected by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders. The judge offered two reasons for the rejection of the deal. First, it was not in the public’s best interest and, second, that the agreement would be “too difficult to enforce.”
“The court was very concerned about [resolving disputes],” said Matthew Cantor, an attorney specializing in health care anti-trust cases, “particularly when you consider how dynamic and evolving the health care business is.”
According to WBUR’s CommonHealth, Healey’s office would continue to evaluate Partner’s bid to acquire two hospitals north of Boston and a physicians group on the South Shore that offers ACLS recertification.
“We appreciate the thoughtful process that Partners engaged in while making this important decision, and believe it is the right choice for Partners and the Commonwealth,” Attorney General Healey, said in a statement. “We are thankful for the valuable input that was provided by the health care community throughout this process to help reach this result.”
Attorney General Healey has opposed the deal between Coakley and Partners and threatened legal action to stop the acquisition from going through.
“I would be prepared to sue to stop the transaction from going forward if need be,” Healey said on Monday.
Partners HealthCare, which had $9 billion in revenue in 2012, owns fourteen hospitals and healthcare networks in Massachusetts. The company is currently reviewing its options on whether to attempt to continue trying to purchase South Shore Hospital.
Outgoing Partner’s CEO Gary Gottlieb said that the court blocked deal “would have paved a pathway to delivering high-quality care closer to home for patients and their families in a lower cost community-based setting.”
Incoming CEO Dr. David Torchiana seemed undaunted by the ruling, however, saying, “A real important part of our strategy if we’re restricted in the local market is we have to look regionally, nationally and internationally. So I’d say look at the globe and spin it around and we’re going to look everywhere.”