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Showdown Between AG, Partners On Health Costs

As the state grapples with how to contain escalating health care costs, the tension over who and what is to blame for such high-priced medicine continues to mount.

In the The Boston Globe today, Liz Kowalczyk details the latest round of finger-pointing, this time from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, accusing Partners HealthCare of putting out flawed data.

The fued began in mid-March, when the AG published a painstakingly detailed report showing that hospital systems in the state with "market clout" — chief among them Partners, and their flagship hospitals, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's — were negotiating higher payments from insurers, but not necessarily delivering better care. Partners responded by commissioning its own analysis that concluded rising costs were due, in large measure, to improvements in quality.

But the AG's office would have none of it. In a June 25th letter, the AG disputed some of Partners findings, calling its methodology "flawed," while noting that other conclusions made in the Partners analysis confirmed the AG's earlier findings. Here's a copy of the letter from the AG's office to Partners, published in the Globe.

This program aired on June 30, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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