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Reaction as Steward goes belly-up

Reaction as Steward goes belly-up

As news of Steward Health Care’s pre-dawn bankruptcy filing emerged Monday, reaction came in from around the state. Here is a sampling, edited for brevity.

“While the company says that it does not expect this development to affect its day-to-day operations, patients and the health care workforce deserve assurance that every effort is being made to reduce the potential interruption of care. Any disruption to continuity of care brings a serious risk to patients, especially those from our most vulnerable and underserved communities who depend upon Steward facilities for care, and those with chronic illness. Steward is ethically obligated to be transparent and timely in communication with patients, physicians, and all members of the health care team as this process evolves.”

— Mass. Medical Society President Dr. Barbara Spivak

“Steward CEO Dr. Ralph de la Torre and his private equity allies put the Massachusetts health care system at risk when they made reckless decisions that put investor profit over people’s lives and livelihoods, ultimately leading to this bankruptcy. Dr. de la Torre, Steward Health Care, and Cerberus Capital Management will be remembered not for improving access to care or saving the non-profit hospitals they purchased, but for their unforgivable abdication of responsibility to the people they promised to serve.”

— U.S. Sen. Edward Markey

“It’s clearer than ever that while Steward leaders spent the last decade publicly touting their hospitals as affordable community options, they deployed a devastating private equity business model behind closed doors focused on extracting every last cent of profit from facilities that serve working class communities. Ralph de la Torre and Steward executives paid themselves hundreds of millions of dollars, and they did so by racking up debt they knew they could never repay, even if it meant the closure of vital community hospitals in gateway cities across the Commonwealth. They should not be allowed to wash their hands of this crisis they created, and if that takes legislative action at the state or federal level, we will be ready to act.

— Congresswoman Lori Trahan of Westford

“Steward Health Care’s financial mismanagement has put already underserved patients in the communities it serves at risk by creating instability in their hospital system. More than two-thirds of Steward’s Massachusetts patients receive coverage through state or federal government programs. Declaring bankruptcy gives the Commonwealth the chance to find new leadership for these institutions so that we can ensure that everyone has access to the health care they need. The state and all key stakeholders must continue to swiftly mobilize to ensure that patients are not forced to pay the price for Steward’s financial mismanagement.

— Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Health Care For All