By: Gary Gottlieb, MD, Partners HealthCare President and CEO

This afternoon, Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders rejected our consent agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General which would have allowed us to proceed with our affiliation plans with South Shore Hospital (SSH) and Hallmark Health System (HHS). This decision is very disappointing for all involved in this process, including the South Shore and Hallmark communities that have been incredibly supportive. The judge’s ruling was announced just this afternoon so it will take some time to review the decision.

The judge has said “no” to an agreement that we believe would have paved a pathway to delivering high-quality care closer to home for patients and their families in a lower cost community-based setting. I want to thank everyone who was engaged in this extended process for your patience and your dedication to our vision of providing accessible and affordable health care.

Our priority moving forward will always be to support our mission and the work our employees do every day across our system that exemplifies our collective commitment to the highest standards of excellence and demonstrates a passionate dedication to serve others.

Our goal in affiliating with SSH and HHS remains - to improve care coordination for our patients. Our Population Health Management initiative requires that primary care physicians and community hospitals are clinically and financially tied into our system. We have shown that this connection can help promote a more effective and efficient pathway for our patients, across our continuum of care, from our academic medical centers, to our rehabilitation and long-term care, as well as our behavioral health and other specialty services.

In order to achieve our goal, we need to care for entire populations of patients and invest in services that will improve access for them and help them navigate the system so they can make the best possible decisions about their care. Population Health Management sets the foundation for our affiliations and allows us to carry out the mandate of the new state health care reform law (known as Chapter 224) and the federal Affordable Care Act.

Attorney General Maura Healey stated in a court filing earlier this week that she would void the agreement with Partners if the Judge rejects it and will take us to court if we move ahead with the South Shore Hospital affiliation. Our leadership team will now take the time to evaluate all of our options.

As I have noted before, our patients, their families and society will hold us accountable. And we will continue to challenge ourselves as leaders, working together across our system, to improve the health and address the complete care needs of the communities we serve.

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