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Governor Healey tells Steward to get out of the hospital business in Massachusetts

Healey tells Steward Health Care to transfer ownership of its hospitals
Healey tells Steward Health Care to transfer ownership of its hospitals 00:50

BOSTON - Governor Maura Healey has sent a letter to Steward Health Care essentially telling Steward to get out of the Massachusetts hospital business.

In the letter to Steward's CEO, Healey demanded documents laying out Steward's finances by the end of business on February 23. She also wants CEO Ralph de la Torre  to make sure the hospitals are properly staffed and open to monitoring.

"You and your team have not been forthcoming, truthful or responsive about what's happening with your financial status, operating plans and contingency strategies," Healey wrote.  

Court documents reviewed by WBZ showed Steward is in deep financial trouble and has not been paying vendors.

Healey said if Steward cannot maintain staffing and supply levels necessary to patient safety, the state would take action that could include freezing admissions, closing beds and transferring patients to other hospitals.

"For years, you have refused to engage in the same level of basic transparency that every other system in Massachusetts offers by not releasing your audited financial statements," Healey wrote. "This information is essential to understand Steward's current financial status here and at Steward's hospitals across the country; how Steward has and is prioritizing its resources and protecting assets; and whether, as it seems, you and Steward chose to maximize profits and personnel and corporate gains at the expense of patients, workers, and the state and federal health care system." 

The letter went on to say that Steward should begin an orderly transition of its seven licensed facilities to new operators as soon as possible.

As the state's Attorney General, Healey represented the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) in a court case over Steward's refusal to submit financial information to the state. In 2023, the Suffolk Superior Court ruled that Steward had to release its financial statements. The case is still under appeal.

Steward hospitals include St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Norwood Hospital, New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton, and Morton Hospital in Taunton.

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