The Boston Globe continues their Spotlight series on Partners HealthCare.
I have previously alluded to an example where a local insurer, Tufts Health Plan, balked at the rates that the Boston hospital conglomerate was demanding.
Instead of negotiating, Partners immediately played hardball knowing that patients demand the “brand-name” services of their top-ranked medical institutions, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. They instituted a million-dollar marketing campaign, where “signs went up at Partners reception desks notifying Tufts members that their insurance would soon be denied. A new website told them how to switch insurers. A call center in Texas was set up to field questions from worried patients and doctors.”
Patients took action against the possibility of losing their access to the hospitals, and “within days, major employers and thousands of Tufts members began threatening to cancel their policies.”
It is no wonder that Tufts surrendered “in little more than a week.”
As I mentioned previously, this is a prime example of why Partners HealthCare would not have the clout they currently enjoy without patients clamoring for their services.