Mass. Gen. Eyes Expansion in China; Harvard Not Involved

Massachusetts General Hospital, the largest of Harvard Medical School’s affiliates, has signed a “framework agreement” to jointly build and operate a hospital in southeastern China, according to an email sent by MGH leaders to colleagues last Friday.

The project, under the working title “MGH Hospital China,” would be MGH’s first major international satellite, and has the potential to be a key source of new revenue for the hospital.

According to a press release distributed in China last week, the proposed hospital would include a 500-bed medical facility with research and education centers and could potentially expand to 800 to 1,000 beds.

Kanghua Healthcare Investments Limited, a large Chinese healthcare player, will invest in the project, while Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine and MGH will jointly oversee the hospital, to be located in the city Zhuhai, near Hong Kong.

Although MGH is a Harvard-affiliated hospital, University leadership is currently not involved in the planning process, nor is Harvard expected to play a role in the potential new hospital.


“Neither Harvard University nor Harvard Medical School are involved in discussions regarding clinical ventures in China,” HMS spokesperson Gina Vild wrote in an emailed statement. “Our understanding is that the Massachusetts General Hospital discussions are preliminary and no final decision about a proposed hospital is expected until next summer at the earliest.”

MGH is not the first of Harvard’s teaching affiliates to weigh expansion projects in China. Brigham and Women’s Hospital was reported in February to be in preliminary discussions with China-based Evergrande Real Estate Group, a major donor to the University, about a potential hospital project.

In their email to colleagues on Friday, MGH President Dr. Peter L. Slavin and Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Chairman Dr. David F. Torchiana wrote that the partnership opportunity was well worth exploring.

“As you know, China has experienced extraordinary change in the past few decades as government reforms have opened the country to international trade, privatization and significant economic development,” they wrote. “When the opportunity arose to explore a relationship with Chinese partners to jointly create a tertiary medical center...we felt it would be appropriate to look into the possibility more deeply.”

—Staff writer Amna H. Hashmi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amna_hashmi.


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