Collapse of merger talks scrambles hospital marketplace in Eastern Massachusetts

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Just when the region’s hospital industry looked like it was evolving into three dominant systems and a handful of independents, the breakdown of merger talks between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and two other major health care organizations is changing the script.

Negotiations to forge an alliance between Beth Israel, Lahey Health, and the Atrius Health consortium of doctors groups stumbled over issues such who would lead the new organization and serve on its board of directors, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The parties declined to comment.

That megadeal’s collapse, disclosed Friday, is one of several developments that could alter the way hospitals and physicians in Eastern Massachusetts are aligned. Expansion plans by Partners’ HealthCare System on the South Shore have run into a roadblock, while expectations that Steward Health Care System would soon be bought by a national company are being dashed by the chain’s chief executive.

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