Steward Finalizes Latest Hospital Acquisition

The Boston Globe reports on the latest hospital acquisition by Steward Health Care, which runs 10 other hospitals in Mass. and has deals pending with Mercy Health System of Maine and Landmark Medical Center in Rhode Island. Chelsea Conaboy writes:

Steward Health Care has completed acquisition of New England Sinai in Stoughton, the hospital system announced Tuesday.

Steward promised to invest $34 million in the hospital, which will convert from a nonprofit to a for-profit. That figure includes $13 million for hospital buildings, equipment, and technology. The group has also promised $10 million for the hospital’s pension payments.

“The clinical integration that our physicians and hospitals will create with New England Sinai will be a significant benefit to our patients,” Dr. Ralph de la Torre, chief executive of Steward, said in a press release.

New England Sinai employees will be hired by Steward at their current pay rates, according to the release. The hospital will retain its own board.

‘I Am A Steward’ Ads During Olympics Draw Scrutiny

Here’s another fine story in Commonwealth magazine on Steward Health Care System’s ongoing push to gain market share in the region.

The current piece focuses on the company’s new ad campaign — running during the Olympics — that casts Steward “as a delivery system for a new type of world-class health care.” Bruce Mohl reports:

The powerful ads, shot on location at Steward hospitals in Norwood, Quincy, and Brockton and featuring employees from all of the chain’s 10 facilities, are attracting attention because of their message and the significant financial outlay they represent. Hospitals often advertise, but rarely on television, and rarely during a high-profile event such as the Olympics. When hospitals do run ads, the ads typically promote the hospital. But the initial Steward ads don’t even mention the chain’s hospitals; instead, they attempt to build a brand around the Steward name.

Cerberus Capital Management, a New York private equity firm, owns Steward, which operates hospitals in Fall River, Methuen, Brighton, Norwood, Dorchester, Brockton, Ayer, Haverhill, Taunton, and Quincy. The company’s foray into health care is being watched closely in Massachusetts. Many health care officials are skeptical that Cerberus/Steward can turn the struggling hospitals around, but Steward officials say they plan to expand their business model to other states. A Steward spokesman declined to discuss the ads, referring a reporter to the company’s press release.

Mohl closes his piece with a nice extra oomph of reporting:

According to Steward, the ads were developed by the Boathouse Group Inc. of Waltham and directed by Lisa Rubisch, who has shot ads for such companies as Nike, Fidelity, Coors, and Honda. In the irony department, Boathouse is run by John Connors, the son of Jack Connors, who founded the advertising firm Hill Holliday and recently stepped down as the chairman of Partners HealthCare, the corporate parent of two of the biggest teaching hospitals in Boston — Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

CommonWealth Offers Fresh Details On Steward’s Health Care Power Play

Yuta Onoda for CommonWealth Magazine" href="">

Illustration by Yuta Onoda for CommonWealth Magazine

If you’re the kind of person who gets a thrill out of the inner workings of competing hospital systems, there’s a must-read story for you just out in CommonWealth Magazine. The title pretty much sums things up: “Cerberus’s health care play: The owner of the for-profit Steward Health Care is taking on Boston’s big teaching hospitals.”

And while much of the Steward saga is known among hospital establishment insiders, a few fresh details emerge here. The piece begins this way:

CHRIS HOPEY, THE president of Merrimack College, brought an intriguing proposal late last year to his board of trustees: Steward Health Care, the upstart, for-profit hospital chain that is challenging some of the biggest players in the Massachusetts health care industry, wanted to transfer Carney Hospital in Dorchester to the North Andover school.
Three sources familiar with the hush-hush discussions say Hopey told the board members that Steward was looking to unload Carney and Laboure College, a nursing school attached to the hospital that is also owned by Steward. Merrimack was seen as a potential match for the hospital and the nursing school because the college is interested in getting into the health care education field. Merrimack is also Catholic, making it a good fit for a hospital that formerly was part of the Boston Arch­diocese’s Caritas Christi hospital chain. Continue reading

Breaking News: State Health Care Finance Commissioner Jumps To Steward

David Morales, Commissioner, Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, at cost-control hearings last year

This just in: David Morales will step down as Commissioner of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy to become the Vice President for Public Policy and Strategic Planning for Steward Health Care, the owners of the now-private Caritas Christi chain of hospitals.

Here’s the release:

BOSTON – Friday, March 4, 2011 – The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced that David Morales will step down from his role as Commissioner of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy effective today to take a position at Steward Health Care System.

“David Morales is a dedicated public servant who has made valuable contributions to the Commonwealth during his years in state government – first in the Legislature, then as my deputy chief of staff, and most recently as Commissioner of the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy,” said Governor Patrick. “For the past four years, David has been an important part of this Administration, and we will miss his dedication, thoughtfulness and passion.”

Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, said, “Since his appointment in 2009, Commissioner Morales has effectively overseen the development of a broad range of reports that offer policymakers, providers, insurers, consumers, and members of the press with vital insight into the state of the health care system in Massachusetts. We thank him for his service to the Commonwealth and wish him well in his new role.”

Until a new Commissioner is identified, Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff Seena Carrington will serve as Acting Commissioner.