Nearing the end of its first full-scale review of a proposed hospital merger, the Health Policy Commission on Wednesday approved two more full cost and market impact reviews of proposed hospital acquisitions in Winchester, Melrose and Medford.
The commission on Wednesday approved a preliminary report recommending a referral to Attorney General Martha Coakley and deeming Partners HealthCare System’s planned acquisition of South Shore Hospital and Harbor Medical Associates would increase costs without a substantial increase in health care system benefits and savings.
The commission then turned its attention to the suburbs north of Boston, approving a review of Partners’ proposed acquisition of Hallmark Health System and a review of Lahey Health System’s proposed acquisition of Winchester Hospital.
Hallmark operates Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose. Commission staff noted Partners’ plan calls for “significant restructuring of services at North Shore Medical Center” and said it “raises significant competitive concerns, including the potential of the resulting system to negotiate higher prices through increased bargaining leverage.”
HPC staff said Lahey became “more concentrated” when it merged with Northeast Health System and said an additional acquisition would raise similar “competitive concerns.”
- A. Metzger/SHNS
Malden City Councilor David D’Arcangelo might run for Sen. Katherine Clark’s former state Senate seat, though he said he is also recruiting others to try for the seat and evaluating other options.
“It’s such a short race and then you’ve got to run again,” D’Arcangelo told the News Service, referring to the April 1 special election, followed by another election in November.
He said, “Maybe there’s a November run rather than a run in April. We really need to try to make sure there’s a full marketplace of ideas, instead of just a steady diet of tax and spend.”
After long-time Republican Sen. Richard Tisei gave up the Senate seat to run for lieutenant governor in 2010, Malden City Councilor Craig Spadafora lost to Clark, of Melrose, in the 2010 race to replace Tisei in the Senate.
D'Archangleo said he's encouraged Spadafora to try again in the 5th Middlesex District. After winning a special Congressional election last Tuesday, Clark traded the state Senate for the U.S. House of Representatives.
D’Arcangelo also mentioned as potential GOP candidates Melrose Alderwoman Monica Medeiros and Melrose Republican David Lucas, who lost a bid for Clark’s former House seat in 2010.
“We want somebody who’s going to take it seriously who’s going to have the time to invest,” said D’Arcangelo, who said he is concerned what effect the back-to-back campaigns would have on his Archangel Communications business.
As a former aide to Tisei, who held the seat and the title of minority leader before Clark won it for the Democrats, D’Arcangelo said he would meet with the state party Tuesday to discuss his options. “Our system of government was not designed to work with just one party, and that’s what we have right now, unfortunately,” said D’Arcangelo.
– A. Metzger/SHNS
Voters in Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield and parts of Winchester will head to the polls April 1 to choose a successor to former state Sen. Katherine Clark, who resigned this week following her election Tuesday to Congress.
The primary will be held March 4, according to the Associated Press.
The Globe reported earlier this fall that three of Clarks’ legislative colleagues, Paul Brodeur of Melrose; Christopher G. Fallon of Malden; and Jason Lewis of Winchester — said they are weighing runs for the Fifth Middlesex state Senate seat.
Lewis announced this week that he is in the race to fill Clark’s state Senate seat.
Elected to the House in 2008 and representing Stoneham and Winchester, Lewis issued a press release to announce he’s running. “I’ve learned that hard work, independent leadership, and a commitment to the concerns of local families can produce great results, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in the legislature these five years,” Lewis, a South Africa native, said in a statement. “We’ve had great success in Stoneham and Winchester and I’m looking forward to getting to know the families of Malden, Melrose, Reading, and Wakefield as we kick off this campaign for State Senate.”
Lewis is vice-chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health and played a role in helping to create the state’s Prevention and Wellness Trust to fund community-based public health and wellness programs. Lewis and his wife Susan live in Winchester with their daughters, Sophie and Jessie. Clark on Tuesday won a special election and is scheduled to join the U.S. House on Thursday.
The special election to replace Clark in the Legislature is the latest in a long line of special elections held since last January. Additional specials are on the horizon as well, with Rep. Marty Walsh due to step down around the end of the year to be sworn in as the next mayor of Boston.
The House has not yet set a special election date to fill the seat formerly held by Donald Humason, who is now a senator after winning a special election to succeed former Sen. Michael Knapik.
Another special election is already underway in the district south of Boston formerly represented by Dan Winslow, who left the House for a private sector job. The winners of the upcoming special elections will represent their districts during an important stretch of the two-year session - formal sessions in 2014 are scheduled to run until the end of July - before likely ramping up their reelection machines for next November's regularly scheduled elections.
- M. Norton/SHNS