A proposed merger that involves 13 Massachusetts hospitals has received approval from a key state board, but hurdles remain.
The state Public Health Council on Wednesday endorsed the merger of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Burlington-based Lahey Health System and several other hospitals. If it goes through, it would create a health network to compete with Partners HealthCare, the parent company of Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's hospitals.
The deal also includes New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, and Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.
The merger still needs approval from the state Health Policy Commission and the state attorney general's office.
Proponents say the merger would benefit patients, but opponents worry it would increase costs and reduce access to health care.