June 20, 2024

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Mass. launches ’emergency operations plan’ for Steward hospitals

Massachusetts officials announced Friday the activation of an “Emergency Operations Plan” in response to the crisis involving Steward Health Care’s remaining facilities across the state. The for-profit, private equity-backed hospital group’s troubles exploded into view this year with the revelation that it owed about $50 million in unpaid rent. Steward officials subsequently closed one facility and have expressed interest in selling their other holdings. “What Steward leadership did was terrible and really irresponsible and we know it’s put communities and hospitals at risk,” Gov. Maura Healey said. State officials said they are concerned about ensuring that Steward’s eight hospitals have the necessary supplies, equipment and staffing until the crisis is resolved. Officials also want to be in place to respond to any “transitions in care” that could create cascading effects for the health care system. “Steward has never been good about giving us a straight story about what’s happening so, you know, we hear a lot but our job is to prepare for all contingencies,” Healey said. According to a statement issued Friday by the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the Department of Public Health, the plan includes creating an incident command system to coordinate the state’s response.Video below: CEO skips hearing”The Incident Command System incorporates the ongoing external monitoring in all Steward hospitals, enables DPH to rapidly respond to any clinical needs or issues that arise, and fosters increased communication with other regional health care organizations, first responders and community leaders,” DPH Commissioner Dr. Robert Goldstein said in a statement.Dr. Gregg Meyer, a practicing primary care physician who has worked as an executive at several hospital groups and in the federal government, was assigned to lead the incident command. DPH said it has placed staff in Steward hospitals to monitor operations since January. Video below: Demonstrations held over Steward hospitalsAccording to State House News Service, officials last month began holding private meetings with local health care leaders to help navigate the uncertainty around the Steward crisis, a step that Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh said should be “very reassuring” to those concerned about preparation for disruption.During a Senate oversight hearing last week, Walsh said officials were preparing for Steward to potentially file for bankruptcy and acknowledged there had been some discussion surrounding receivership.Steward’s eight hospitals in Massachusetts are: St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and Haverhill Hospital in Haverhill, Morton Hospital in Taunton, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Norwood Hospital, and St. Anne’s in Fall River.”Steward will be transitioning out of this market,” Healey said. “What’s important is that patients should continue to go to the hospital, to use these hospitals to access the care that is needed.”

Massachusetts officials announced Friday the activation of an “Emergency Operations Plan” in response to the crisis involving Steward Health Care’s remaining facilities across the state.

The for-profit, private equity-backed hospital group’s troubles exploded into view this year with the revelation that it owed about $50 million in unpaid rent. Steward officials subsequently closed one facility and have expressed interest in selling their other holdings.

“What Steward leadership did was terrible and really irresponsible and we know it’s put communities and hospitals at risk,” Gov. Maura Healey said.

State officials said they are concerned about ensuring that Steward’s eight hospitals have the necessary supplies, equipment and staffing until the crisis is resolved. Officials also want to be in place to respond to any “transitions in care” that could create cascading effects for the health care system.

“Steward has never been good about giving us a straight story about what’s happening so, you know, we hear a lot but our job is to prepare for all contingencies,” Healey said.

According to a statement issued Friday by the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the Department of Public Health, the plan includes creating an incident command system to coordinate the state’s response.

Video below: CEO skips hearing

“The Incident Command System incorporates the ongoing external monitoring in all Steward hospitals, enables DPH to rapidly respond to any clinical needs or issues that arise, and fosters increased communication with other regional health care organizations, first responders and community leaders,” DPH Commissioner Dr. Robert Goldstein said in a statement.

Dr. Gregg Meyer, a practicing primary care physician who has worked as an executive at several hospital groups and in the federal government, was assigned to lead the incident command.

DPH said it has placed staff in Steward hospitals to monitor operations since January.

Video below: Demonstrations held over Steward hospitals

According to State House News Service, officials last month began holding private meetings with local health care leaders to help navigate the uncertainty around the Steward crisis, a step that Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh said should be “very reassuring” to those concerned about preparation for disruption.

During a Senate oversight hearing last week, Walsh said officials were preparing for Steward to potentially file for bankruptcy and acknowledged there had been some discussion surrounding receivership.

Steward’s eight hospitals in Massachusetts are: St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and Haverhill Hospital in Haverhill, Morton Hospital in Taunton, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Norwood Hospital, and St. Anne’s in Fall River.

“Steward will be transitioning out of this market,” Healey said. “What’s important is that patients should continue to go to the hospital, to use these hospitals to access the care that is needed.”

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