Health Business Blog

Health care business consultant and policy expert David E. Williams share his views

Attorney General intervenes in Beth Israel-Lahey merger. I’m quoted in Boston Business Journal

A lot of people were surprised that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sent a letter last week to the Health Policy Commission, expressing concerns about the merger of Beth Israel Deaconess, Lahey Health, New England Baptist, Mount Auburn and Anna Jacques. Usually the AG would comment later if at all, but the letter throws the whole merger into doubt.

The Boston Business Journal interviewed me about the topic. Here’s what I said:

Health care expert David Williams said the attorney general’s early involvement could speed up the overall review, but may also mean that conditions imposed will have more teeth.

“Whenever the AG is involved it gets pretty legalistic and sometimes confrontational in a way that working with the HPC would not necessarily do,” said Williams, who works with Boston consulting firm Health Business Group. “I think what it means is that any terms and conditions that are agreed to as part of the merger are more likely to be enforceable if the AG is involved because they have more tools at their disposal.”

He said the attorney general’s early involvement reflected the concerns raised by competing hospital Tufts Medical Center and a community group that has ties to Steward Health Care.

“Presumably, the AG has heard from these organizations and decided to take their concerns seriously,” he said. “It’s likely she is trying to influence the terms of the merger in order to mitigate these issues.”

I also told the reporter that there were “eerie” similarities in the arguments made by this group and what Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s said way back when they formed Partners, e.g., that healthcare costs would drop as a result.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Preparing for value based payments. Podcast interview with MediQuire CEO Emily Chen

MediQuire CEO Emily Chen

Despite all the noise and dysfunction on healthcare in Washington, DC, the move toward value based payments is continuing apace. But providers and payers continue to straddle the fee-for-service and value-based worlds, slowing and complicating the transition.

MediQuire helps providers and payers measure, improve and get financial reward for improvements in performance and patient outcomes. In this podcast interview, CEO Emily Chen and I discuss:

  • The current state of affairs in value-based payment
  • How the value-based movement has changed (or not) since the new administration arrived in office
  • The key capabilities needed for success
  • How MediQuire helps
  • What the future holds

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Massachusetts healthcare turmoil: I’m quoted in the Boston Globe, Herald and CEO Magazine

I’m always happy to speak with the press to provide my take on healthcare business and policy. In the last few days I’ve been quoted in a few outlets:

Today’s Boston Globe: In a sudden departure, Harvard Pilgrim CEO resigns amid questions about his behavior

Harvard Pilgrim and Partners each said Tuesday that Schultz’s resignation does not affect their discussions about a possible merger.

But David E. Williams, a Boston health care consultant, predicted the leadership change at Harvard Pilgrim would slow any other major moves by the insurer.

“I think it reduces the chance that a deal will happen, especially in the near term,” Williams said. “The Harvard Pilgrim board can’t deal with two major things at once. Partners will want to wait and see if something else shakes out at Harvard Pilgrim.”

Today’s Boston Herald: Harvard Pilgrim CEO resigns over ‘behavior’

Neither Schultz nor a company spokeswoman would comment on the nature of his behavior, or whether he is receiving any severance payments.

“I think the board is likely to be sensitive to that topic here,” said David Williams, president of Health Business Group. “Any expense is going to be borne in some ways by the customer.”

Yesterday’s Boston Globe: Beth Israel and Lahey say they want to learn from missteps in earlier merger

Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey do seem to have much in common. Both have flagship medical centers and a network of community hospitals. Both are considered high-quality, and they have lower costs compared with the region’s largest hospital network, Partners HealthCare. On their own, both have struggled to compete with Partners, which includes the renowned Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals.

“There’s a decent amount of compatibility and similarity,” said David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group, a Boston consulting firm. “BI and Lahey spent a lot of time getting to know one another and making sure that this is a good fit.”

The current edition of Chief Executive: Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush resigns: Avoiding a similar fate

In both cases, Sonnenfeld says the boards didn’t have the fortitude to stand up to the attacks. David E. Williams, president, Health Business Group in Boston, similarly seen this scenario play out before where a founding CEO is ousted by investors.

“It actually usually happens at an earlier stage than what you’re seeing here. What’s so noticeable here is that [the CEO] has been involved with the company for a long time and is a large publicly-traded company,” Williams says.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.