When I wrote yesterday's post about the excessive charges collected by the Partners Healthcare System, I thought I had a good understanding of the dimensions of the problem. Apparently not.
In a follow-up story on boston.com, we find the following quote “What surprises me most is the difference between Partners and their next biggest competitor,’’ said Áron Boros, executive director of the Center for Health Information and Analysis, which compiled the report. He said Partners has been able to negotiate high prices with all insurers, unlike other systems. “None of them has the consistent success of Partners in driving prices up,’’ he said.
Whew. Mr. Boros is probably the most knowledgable person in the state when it comes to the rates paid to hospitals and doctors. In his previous job, he "hosted the annual Cost Trends hearings and presided over the first release of the Division’s All-Payer Claims Database for state agency and research uses." It was at those Cost Trend hearings that the pricing inequities in the state were first disclosed, based on research conducted by the Office of the Attorney General. Mr. Boros has continued with similar important activities since taking over CHIA.
Given this expertise, if Mr. Boros admits publicly to being surprised by the results of his agency's study, then I am confident that my assertions about the tax being imposed on the Commonwealth by Partners Healthcare have to be dramatically understated. Why the head of the Health Policy Commission and other policymakers persist in denying the inflationary aspects of this problem is a mystery. Partners really has succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes of the Commonwealth's leaders.