Home Private Equity Mass. Sens. Warren, Markey slam Steward for bankruptcy filing

Mass. Sens. Warren, Markey slam Steward for bankruptcy filing

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masslive.com

Carney Hospital, a Steward Health Care facility in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

Hours after financially troubled Steward Health Care went tumbling into an expected, but no less damaging, bankruptcy, Massachusetts lawmakers on Capitol Hill had their say on news that roiled the Bay State’s health care landscape.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called Steward’s bankruptcy filing in the early hours of Monday morning the “direct consequence of Wall Street private equity vultures looting our health care system.”

“My first priority is keeping these Massachusetts hospitals open, protecting patients, and supporting frontline health care workers,” Warren said in a statement. “The next step should be a serious reexamination of whether we should allow private equity in health care. Steward is just the latest example of private equity endangering communities, and I will be introducing new legislation in the Senate to hold corporate actors accountable when they loot our hospitals to boost their profits.”

Steward, which operates eight facilities concentrated in eastern Massachusetts, has been the subject of intense scrutiny from state and federal officials in Massachusetts as more information came to light about its precarious financial position, which includes tens of millions of dollars in debt, MassLive reported.

Last week, the state activated an “emergency operations plan” to ensure patients had continued access to the hospital system, MassLive previously reported.

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., slammed Steward’s CEO, Dr. Ralph de la Torre, saying the company’s boss “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.

On Monday morning, Gov. Maura Healey and other senior state officials stressed that Steward’s hospitals in Massachusetts will remain open as the bankruptcy case wends its way through the courts.

“This bankruptcy is something our administration has been preparing for. Steward Hospitals remain open. Patients should keep their appointments. You should continue to seek care when you need it at these facilities,” the Democratic governor said during a hastily convened press conference at the State House.

Flanked by senior aides, advocates, and labor leaders, Healey said Steward’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing was the first step toward “our goal of getting Steward out of Massachusetts.”

In a sharply worded statement, U.S Rep. Ayanna Pressley, whose district includes Steward facilities, said the company “failed the tens of thousands of patients and workers it serves in Massachusetts and across the country, and Steward filing for bankruptcy today is another damning indictment of our for-profit health care system in America.”

The filing represents a “public health crisis for our communities—especially for the vulnerable patients who receive their care at Carney Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s in Dorchester—and we must do everything we can to keep Steward hospitals open and care accessible,” Pressley continued, adding she was grateful to Healey and her lieutenants “for prioritizing an orderly transfer of ownership that protects our patients and providers.”

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