RECENT POSTS

Listen: How Health Care Facilities Are Preparing For The Blizzard

Most of us will be hunkered down at home over the next 24 hours, as a blizzard bears down on the state. But police, firefighters, hospital staff and workers at hundreds of nursing homes will be working. Listen above to a report from WBUR’s Martha Bebinger about how hospitals and senior care facilities are preparing to ride out the storm.

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AG Healey Weighs In Against Partners Acquisition Of South Shore Hospital

Attorney General Maura Healey, at WBUR (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Attorney General Maura Healey, at WBUR (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Updated 7:15 p.m.

BOSTON — On her first Monday morning as Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey stepped into a fight that may well continue through her first term. Healey said, in short, that Partners HealthCare should not be allowed to acquire South Shore Hospital and that she would sue to block the acquisition.

Her predecessor, Martha Coakley, had the option of suing Partners, but chose instead to negotiate concessions. In a deal filed in court by Coakley, Partners would be able to add at least three more hospitals — South Shore and two owned by Hallmark Health — but would have to keep price increases in line with inflation for six and half years and cap the size of its physician group for five years.

Healey raised several concerns about the agreement in a brief filed in court Monday. She suggests that the physician cap is too lax and that the terms of the deal are too short. When the deal expires, “Partners may wield market leverage that is greater than its current, already significant market leverage,” Healey said.

Healey said she wants proof that Partners has figured out how to use its size to save money.

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Hundreds Mourn Surgeon Fatally Shot At Boston’s Brigham And Women’s Hospital

A woman wears a button honoring Michael Davidson at his funeral service Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A woman wears a button honoring Michael Davidson at his funeral service Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The cardiac surgeon killed inside Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston this week was laid to rest on Friday.

More than a thousand people gathered at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley Friday to pay their respects to Dr. Michael Davidson, who was fatally shot by a patient’s son on Tuesday.

Some wore buttons with Davidson’s initials, MJD, in a heart. Six buses brought people from Brigham and Women’s, and when Rabbi Joel Sisenwine asked all the doctors and caregivers to rise, at least half the room stood.

Several colleagues and friends of Davidson’s spoke, as did Davidson’s father, Robert, a well-known cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He spoke of the hopeful flight he and his wife took to Boston Tuesday after they received news that their son had been shot — hopeful because Davidson’s parents thought when they boarded the plane that he would live.

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Trouble With State Health Connector’s Call Centers Frustrates Insurance Seekers

Update at 9:17 p.m.: Gov. Charlie Baker has extended the deadline for signing up for coverage:

Original post:

Frustration with the state’s Health Connector is mounting.

Today (Friday) is the deadline for coverage that begins Feb. 1, but an untold number of residents say they’ve hit roadblocks while trying to enroll and pay for a plan. The problem at this stage is not so much the new website — it’s the call centers. Continue reading

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Gov. Baker Names 2 Top State Health Care Officials

Gov. Charlie Baker has tapped two top health care officials.

Baker announced Thursday that Louis Gutierrez will serve as executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, which oversees the state’s health insurance marketplace and website.

Baker also appointed Daniel Tsai as assistant secretary for MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.

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Kin: Man Who Killed Brigham Doctor Had Blamed Him For Mother’s Death

Brigham and Women's Hospital staff embrace after a ceremony remembering Dr. Michael Davidson on Wednesday. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)Brigham and Women's Hospital staff embrace after a ceremony remembering Dr. Michael Davidson on Wednesday. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Brigham and Women’s Hospital staff embrace after a ceremony remembering Dr. Michael Davidson on Wednesday. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

A man who walked into a leading Boston hospital, asked for a cardiac surgeon by name and fatally shot him outside an examination room had been upset about his mother’s death and had blamed the doctor for it, relatives said. Continue reading

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Colleagues Mourn Surgeon Fatally Shot At The Brigham

Staff at Brigham and Women’s hospital Wednesday were mourning the surgeon who was shot and killed Tuesday by the son of a former patient. As WBUR’s Fred Bever reports, Dr. Michael Davidson was remembered both for his skills as a surgeon and his rich personal life. Listen to his full report above.

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Worcester Telegram: Alleged Brigham Shooter Had Complained About Past Medical Bills

Flowers are left outside the Brigham in honor of the slain Dr. Michael Davidson. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Flowers are left outside the Brigham in honor of the slain Dr. Michael Davidson. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Stephen Pasceri, the 55-year-old Millbury man who police say shot and killed Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon Michael Davidson and then himself, had complained in the past about medical bills, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports here.

It writes today:

Mr. Pasceri, in 2012, told Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson that he was frustrated with an $8,100 bill that his mother received after his father died from a heart attack. He sent copies of the bills to then-Sen. John F. Kerry and U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, he said, because he believed Medicare was being overcharged by hospitals. His mother, who said in 2012 that she was making payments to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, died in November.

The Boston Globe reports that Pasceri “‘had some issue’ with prior medical treatment of his mother at [Brigham and Women’s], said Superintendent Robert Merner, head of the Bureau of Investigative Services. Marguerite E. Pasceri died Nov. 15.”

The Globe also reports that Pasceri’s brother, Gregory, believes “something snapped” when Pasceri got new information recently about their mother’s death. She developed complications after surgery at the Brigham, he told the Globe.

That 2012 Telegram column by Dianne Williamson was headlined, “A Beloved Dad Passes, A Bill Lingers,” and includes this:

Some of the charges in the itemized bill from UMass include $1,928 for the emergency room; $645 for an echocardiogram; $1,462 for CPR; $454 for the doctor’s visit; and $2,149 for the ambulance ride up Belmont Street. As part of its Prompt Pay Discount Program, UMass offered to shave 20 percent from the bill if she paid it immediately, but Mrs. Pasceri lives off Social Security and was unable to take advantage of the offer. Continue reading

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Welcome, Attorney General Healey. What Are You Going To Do About Partners?

It’s swearing in day for Maura Healey, Attorney General. (Steven Senne/AP)

It’s swearing in day for Maura Healey, Attorney General. (Steven Senne/AP)

Maura Healey will inherit several thorny issues Wednesday as she becomes the next state attorney general. Near the top of her list: the agreement that would let Partners HealthCare acquire at least three more hospitals in exchange for some limits on price and staff increases.

During the campaign, Healey raised questions about whether the deal was enough, both in scope and in duration.

So now that she’s in charge, will she urge Judge Janet Sanders to approve the agreement, suggest changes, or start over? In an interview before her swearing-in, WBUR’s Bob Oakes put these questions to Healey. Here’s the sum total of her response:

This is a matter that I’m reviewing and being briefed on now. The perspective I come from, as attorney general, is to drive down health care costs. So I’m considering my options. Right now, the matter is before the court, as you say. There was a proposed consent judgement filed, and we’ll just have to see on that.

In short, stay tuned.

Sanders suggested back in November, at the last hearing on the Partners deal, that she’d like to speak to Healey before issuing a ruling. She may also be waiting for Partners to name a new CEO, a decision some sources expect in the next four or five weeks. Sanders could call the parties in for a status conference at any time. Healey and Partners have that option as well.

Who will make the next move? Any bets?

You can hear all of Bob’s conversation with the new AG here.

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In Wake Of Brigham And Women’s Shooting, A Look At Area Hospitals’ Safety Protocols

Police outside the Shapiro building at Brigham and Women's Hospital after Tuesday's shooting. (Steven Senne/AP)

Police outside the Shapiro building at Brigham and Women’s Hospital after Tuesday’s shooting. (Steven Senne/AP)

Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said it’ll review its safety measures and protocols Wednesday after the fatal shooting of a doctor there Tuesday. The doctor, Michael Davidson, 44, was pronounced dead late Tuesday.

Investigators say the gunman, identified by police as 55-year-old Stephen Pasceri, of Millbury, deliberately targeted Davidson. Police say Pasceri died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It’s the type of situation the hospital’s chief operating officer, Dr. Ron Walls, says all hospital staff have been carefully trained to address.

“There is no amount of preparation anyone can do that completely eliminates the prospect of this kind of tragic event happening,” Walls said. “But we do believe we have a responsibility, and we’re working hard to meet that responsibility to have all of our people completely prepared in the best way we can so that when something like this happens — if it happens, and whatever happens– our staff is able to respond.”

John Erwin, the executive director of the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, joins Morning Edition to discuss safety measures at area hospitals.

To hear the full interview with Erwin, click on the audio player above.

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