Boston Children’s Hospital targets Lower Hudson Valley – The Journal News | LoHud.com
Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts, one of the nation’s largest pediatric centers, is acquiring a Lower Hudson Valley physician group as part of its strategy to expand into other states.
The hospital, a nonprofit with more than 10,000 employees, plans to acquire Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester, which has 276 doctors in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester, which is based in Valhalla, would become a for-profit affiliate of Boston Children’s Hospital under the undisclosed purchase terms. The deal is expected to close this summer.
As Boston Children’s Hospital seeks more patients from outside Massachusetts, its first acquisition in New York targeted the highly competitive Lower Hudson Valley health care landscape.
Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester doctors serve thousands of patients at 57 locations, of which more than half are affiliated with hospitals and medical offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.
Boston Children’s Hospital has more than $1.4 billion in annual revenues, federal tax filings show. That is comparable to more than a dozen other local hospitals, and affiliated New York City health care systems, vying for patients in Westchester and Rockland counties.
Dr. Leonard Newman, president of Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester, and Dr. Kevin Churchwell, chief operating officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, answered some questions from The Journal News.
Here is an edited version of those conversations:
Q: How does this acquisition impact patients?
A:Newman: We’re basically physicians who treat children from the neonatal all the way up to adolescents and beyond. The object is not to send children up to Boston for care, unless they have rare conditions. This is a relationship to have our doctors as part of their large network.
Churchwell: We certainly already had patients together with the referral process, and we wanted to find out how we develop a pediatric network of care across the Northeast. This made a lot of sense Ã¢Â€Â¦and we have the opportunity to augment their access to programs that they do not have.
Q: How does creating larger networks impact efforts to reduce cost?
A: Churchwell: It’s unclear in this environment that we’re in with the health care reform how this affects prices and cost, but we expect that to be part of the discussion. We’ll have to see how this affects the market.
Q: How did Boston Children’s Hospital beat other players competing to purchase Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester?
A: Newman: Boston Children’s is a free-standing children’s hospital, and in New York the only free-standing hospital is Buffalo Children’s. … And a lion’s share of research, about 25 percent of all research for children, is done at Boston Children’s, so they have new drugs that we don’t and all kinds of benefits for patients.
Q: Any further expansion on the horizon?
A: Newman: We have been expanding in Rockland, Orange and Dutchess counties and in Fairfield, Connecticut, and in physician groups in the Bronx. Ã¢Â€Â¦We are currently looking at a very large group in New Jersey. We are developing a network where we can address quality of care and clinical research and afford some of the added expertise.
Q: How does this deal affect Children’s and Women’s Physicians of Westchester’s affiliation with other Lower Hudson Valley hospitals?
A: Newman: Our doctors will maintain their current affiliations at hospitals across the region.
Churchwell: This doesn’t stop access from others, and it improves access for our partners Ã¢Â€Â¦ and the information transfer can be extremely important.
Q. What about differences between states’ plans for shifting to digital medical records?
A. Churchwell: The integration around the electronic medical records is going to be very important for us, and that easily crosses over state borders. We’ve been talking with CWPW about which electronic programs that they could pursue, and this is a great opportunity.
Q: When do antitrust concerns enter the discussion of deals like this?
A: Newman: There are so many large physician groups that have so many patients Ã¢Â€Â” like WestMed and Mount Kisco Medical Group Ã¢Â€Â” so I don’t think that the Federal Trade Commission would see any antitrust issues.