A mayoral advisory committee in Boston last week recommended the creation of a new hospital corporation to operate Boston University Medical Center-University Hospital, Boston City Hospital and a city-owned specialty and rehabilitation facility.
The private, not-for-profit corporation would own the university hospital. It would operate the city-owned facilities under a long-term lease with a new public health commission, which would hold the titles to most of the city property allocated to the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Board of Health.
The commission would be successor to those agencies and would continue to receive city funds to provide public health services. It also would be the central manager of contracts and endowment programs for hospital or public health purposes, and it would assume the city's obligation for debt repayment.
The committee was established by Mayor Thomas Menino in June 1994 to chart the future of Boston City Hospital, which was deemed financially healthy but in danger of ailing as its sources of revenues declined in response to managed-care pressures and technological advances that cut hospital stays.
The merger of the city and university hospitals, which are adjacent geographically but have contrasting workplace cultures, will be a challenge, the report said. It ultimately could strengthen each institution, however, by reducing duplication and complementing clinical strengths in different areas.
The new health system also would include eight community health centers (May 15, p. 28) and the Boston University School of Medicine, which includes the university's School of Public Health.
The committee recommended creating a public health advisory board to review the performance of the new commission and medical center corporation and to provide public accountability.
The board would have to be created by legislation, the report said.