Three Boston-based hospital organizations merged last week into a single parent corporation, combining tertiary and community-based academic medical programs with a primary-care network and several suburban hospitals.
The new corporation, called CareGroup, combines the holdings of Beth Israel Healthcare, Pathway Health Network and Mount Auburn Hospital. The parent corporations announced their intent to merge last spring (April 29, p. 4).
The completed merger officially retires the Pathway name as the identity that Deaconess Hospital in Boston had been promoting for its developing regional network.
Incorporated two years ago, Pathway had grown to include New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, a tertiary hospital affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine, and three other community hospitals in eastern Massachusetts: Deaconess-Glover Hospital in Needham, Deaconess-Nashoba in Ayer and Deaconess-Waltham (Mass.) Hospital.
As part of the merger, Deaconess and adjacent Beth Israel Hospital, two affiliates of Harvard Medical School, were consolidated into a single tertiary operation called Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Mount Auburn Hospital, also a Harvard affiliate, will continue to serve as a community-based teaching hospital.
Mitchell Rabkin, M.D., formerly president and chief executive officer of Beth Israel Hospital, becomes the new CEO of CareGroup, while J. Richard Gaintner, M.D., formerly president and CEO of Pathway, becomes CareGroup's president.
Francis Lynch, who continues as president of Mount Auburn, also will be senior vice president in CareGroup's office of the CEO.
David Dolins, formerly executive vice president and director of Beth Israel Hospital, is the new president of the combined medical center, and Robert Norton, formerly Deaconess Hospital president, becomes the medical center's executive vice president.
Dolins said the two hospitals have largely complementary clinical services rather than duplicative programs, which helps streamline the consolidation and achieve economies of scale.
A healthcare environment influenced by one of the highest penetrations of managed care in the country has continued to prod Boston's many specialty teaching hospitals into incrementally higher levels of consolidation and affiliation with primary-care physician practices.
CareGroup faces competition from one of the first consolidation efforts-a regional network called Partners HealthCare System hatched nearly three years ago by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital-as well as a new competitive force represented by the entry into the market earlier this year of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.
Columbia acquired an 80% interest in MetroWest Medical Center, a two-campus hospital operating in west suburban Framingham and Natick.