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It was worlds away from the Boston medical hub: There were no traffic-clogged intersections, no ambulance sirens slapping the sides of buildings, no harried doctors and nurses rushing in scrubs for a quick fix of caffeine.

On that spring weekend in 2018, the president of Brigham Health and about a dozen of Boston’s top doctors and nurses flew to Hainan, a tropical island at the southernmost tip of China, rimmed by sandy beaches and studded with lush resorts.


This was no vacation, though. The delegation was there on a mission — to celebrate the opening of a gleaming new hospital stamped with the Brigham and Women’s brand. So many of the best hospitals in the United States, including Mass. General, had created lucrative collaborations abroad, designed to reach wealthy patients who would pay out of pocket for top-notch health care.

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