NewsSteward to Sell Four Mass. Hospitals Soon, Lawmaker Says

Steward to Sell Four Mass. Hospitals Soon, Lawmaker Says

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In a surprising move, Steward Health Care, a for-profit health care company based in Dallas, has expressed its intention to sell four of its Massachusetts hospitals, including Norwood Hospital, according to U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. The other hospitals on the list are Nashoba Valley Medical Center, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, and Holy Family Hospital.

Steward Health Care, which is reported to owe $50 million in unpaid rent, currently operates several other hospitals in the state, including Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Morton Hospital in Taunton, New England Sinai Hospital, and St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River.

Norwood Hospital, closed since June 2020 due to flooding, had plans for reconstruction under Steward’s management.

State officials were caught off guard by the announcement, and there are now concerns about the potential impact on patient care. Congressman Lynch expressed the urgency of the situation, stating, “They expressed their intent to exit the Massachusetts health care market. They own nine hospitals. How do you spin that in a good way?”

The Massachusetts congressional delegation has sent a letter to Steward’s CEO highlighting the significant consequences for patient care if the company decides to withdraw from the health care business in the state.

Steward Health Care’s management downplayed reports of closures in an email to employees, indicating efforts to address challenges and secure additional funding to normalize hospital operations. Executive Vice President Michael Callum stated, “We have not asked the state and currently do not believe we need any form of government bailout.”

Mass General Brigham has taken precautionary measures, rescheduling surgeries and procedures scheduled at Steward’s hospitals. Concerns about equipment availability were raised after a recent incident at St. Elizabeth’s, where equipment was repossessed due to non-payment.

Steward Health Care emphasized that their hospitals serve a significant number of Medicare and Medicaid patients, and they are facing challenges in reimbursement for the care provided. The company employs over 16,000 nurses, doctors, and essential health care workers in the state.

Steward Health Care has a history of closures, having closed Quincy Medical Center in 2014, three years after acquiring it, with the emergency room shutting down in 2020. The recent announcement adds uncertainty to the future of these four Massachusetts hospitals amid the company’s financial struggles.

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