REPORT: BCH Expansion Not for Mass. Patients

BOSTON - August 25, 2016 - Boston Children’s Hospital’s (BCH) proposed $1 billion expansion project is explicitly designed to serve international and out-of-state patients, with no clear need for its planned services among Massachusetts families, according to a new analysis commissioned by the hospital by order of the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The report also concluded that a five-year trend of declining patient volumes at BCH is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
The DPH required the analysis, which was conducted by the Navigant Group, to answer questions about the massive expansion’s impact on health care in Massachusetts.
“Navigant’s analysis shows that BCH does not need to expand. It wants to expand, to target more international patients and raise revenue,” said Gus Murby, spokesman for the Ten Taxpayer Group that has intervened with the DPH to object to the expansion. “The analysis is badly flawed, however, taking at face value  the hospital’s totally unfounded assumptions that a flood of new international patients from China and the Middle East will support a $1 billion expansion. The DPH should request another, more complete and impartial cost impact analysis that challenges the hospital’s financial and patient volume projections.”
Despite declining demand, the Navigant analysis accepts BCH’s speculative assumptions that international patients, particularly from the Middle East and China, will grow at unprecedented rates, and Navigant concludes that the expansion will have no effect on health care costs  or prices for Massachusetts patients. 

These assumptions fly in the face of data cited in a new report filed yesterday with DPH and the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission by the Ten Taxpayer Group. An analysis of the Navigant document, the Ten Taxpayer Group report notes that “the Middle East—which accounts for fully half of BCH’s international business—is under tremendous fiscal and political pressure to reform its lavish spending on out-of-region medical care. This has prompted major reductions in government subsidies that have underwritten much of the region’s medical tourism to the U.S. Combined with the build-up of domestic medical infrastructures in the Middle East, China, and other global economies, there is considerable doubt about the sustainability of the international business model.”

DPH ordered Children’s to commission an independent cost analysis as part of its Determination of Need (DoN) proceeding on the $1 billion expansion. The hospital is prohibited from building its proposed new clinical tower without a DoN from the DPH, which put its consideration of the project on hold late last winter, pending results of the independent cost analysis.

“While it falls short of its goal of assessing the full impact of BCH’s proposed project on overall efforts to contain health care costs in Massachusetts, the Navigant report does concede that the project is not needed, since it will not serve Massachusetts residents—a prerequisite for DoN approval,” Murby said.

Children’s proposed expansion would be the most expensive in state history. As proposed, it would destroy the 60-year-old, half-acre Prouty Garden, a world-class healing garden beloved by patients, families and staff and meant to remain in perpetuity by its benefactor, author Olive Higgins Prouty. The Ten Taxpayer Group and the Friends of the Prouty Garden have faulted the hospital’s myopic view to solving its stated clinical needs, which ignores several other more appropriate approaches and sites that would leave the garden intact and be more in line with the Commonwealth’s health care cost containment goals.


The press release above was distributed today in response to the recently released Independent Cost Analysis (ICA) required by the DPH. We told you about this cost analysis - and its inherent inadequacies - last week. Given the flawed scope of the ICA, its findings that BCH's expansion project meets Massachusetts health care cost containment goals is unsurprising. 

What's important to take away from the analysis is this - BCH's project is not designed for Massachusetts patients. There is no Massachusetts need for this project in its current form; therefore the DPH should reject the project.

To read more, the Boston Business Journal has a story today on the issue, "Boston Children's Prouty Garden advocates slam cost-benefit analysis of proposed expansion."

The fight to save the Prouty Garden marches on and we need your financial support now more than ever. Please consider donating today: