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Published on February 23, 2024
Steward Health Care Faces Deadline from Massachusetts Governor for Overdue Financial Records Amid Exit TalksSource: Google Street View

The clock is ticking for Steward Health Care as the Texas-based hospital operator stewards the possibility of exiting the Massachusetts medical scene. Facing a directive from Gov. Maura Healey, Steward has until today to produce their overdue financial records to the state, a move demanded amidst a brewing health care crisis. Accused of owing a whopping $50 million in back rent for its facilities, the company has been under scrutiny for its management of nine hospitals in the Bay State. Concerns continue to mount as reports of shortages in basic supplies, including paper and IV equipment, signal deeper issues that workers fear might compromise patient care, noted NBC Boston.

Steward Health has expressed interest in what they term an "orderly departure" from Massachusetts. In communications with Healey, Dr. Michael Callum, executive vice president for physician services and interim president for Steward's New England region, penned a commitment to transitioning care responsibly. "We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you personally concerning the orderly departure of Steward from Massachusetts," Callum stated in the letter obtained by NewsCenter 5. This pledge arrives concurrently with the deadline for financial disclosures, a sore point between Steward and state officials who have accused the health care group of dragging its feet.

While controversy looms, Steward insists it has played ball with the state, claiming to have submitted "thousands of pages" of financial documentation dating back to 2017. However, the records for 2023 remain out of reach as they are not yet prepared. The company, employing over 15,000 nurses, doctors, and other essential healthcare workers, also faces the challenge of maintaining operations, having recently informed staff they've secured enough funds to keep the lights on temporarily until potential sales of their facilities to other operators.

As Steward writes its possible swan song in the Massachusetts healthcare sphere, the state remains on edge. Healey's administration demands a concrete plan, insisting that Steward ensures safe staffing and supply levels, and is reportedly gearing up for heavy oversight measures, including the possible assignment of monitors at Steward locations. Despite these tensions, Callum has conveyed a tone of cooperation with the state, saying, "We look forward to continuing a productive dialogue with your Administration to effectuate this plan in short order," according to NewsCenter 5. The letter carries a footnote, critiquing Massachusetts health care policy for its preferential treatment towards "larger and more expensive" hospital systems.