The proposed merger of Leominster Hospital in Leominster and Burbank Hospital in Fitchburg raised antitrust
concerns that the hospitals could raise prices while consumers would be left with no
alternative hospital in the area to which they could turn. In an agreement between the Attorney General and the hospitals, the hospitals are required to undertake and fund a demonstration project to study the effects of the merger on prices for services, achievement of hospital efficiencies and the concerns of managed care providers, such as HMOs. In addition, the hospitals must seek public input prior to closing any emergency departments and increase spending for community health outreach programs by $600,000 over the next four years. The settlement also requires the hospitals pay $5,000 to the Attorney General’s office to cover the investigation costs.