GLOBE: Is Children’s $1b project really necessary?

A news article in today's Boston Globe asks: "Is Children’s $1b project really necessary?"

This is a pivotal question. Children's own data show that the demand for children's hospital care is declining both here and nationally. And, state data show Children’s already has the most expensive physician network in Massachusetts.

So, why build? Globe reporter Priyanka McCluskey put that question to area health care experts and physicians at competing hospitals. Here's what they had to say:

It seems like an odd thing to do, to add new and expanded inpatient capacity given what’s going on in pediatrics in terms of demand,” said Nancy Kane, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who studies hospitals.


I worry greatly that the most likely scenario may be very different, meaning that once Children’s builds this billion-dollar building, if it doesn’t get all of these out-of-state patients, they’re going to need to try to obtain growth [locally] in order to make the economics of the expansion work,” said Dr. Paul Hattis, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and former member of the Health Policy Commission, an agency that monitors costs. “That might well mean taking care away from other hospitals where care can be provided just as well at lower cost.”


“If the marketplace becomes monopolized by one institution, then we and the other providers of tertiary care for kids won’t have a sustainable model to maintain these services,” said Dr. Ronald E. Kleinman, physician-in-chief at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. “We’ll then have a situation where there is only one player in town and it provides the most expensive care possible.”


“They have to be anticipating that they’re going to move market share from other competitors,” said Dr. Michael Wagner, chief executive of Tufts. “It’s just not the right decision for the state to allow this to go ahead.”

You can read the full Globe article here:

We encourage everyone to read and consider whether the "biggest capital project to date to come up for Department of Public Health approval" is really necessary, and what effects it will have on the Massachusetts patients who so depend on BCH's already expensive care.

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