As Steward's finances stumble, spotlight turns to CEO's yachts

In light of continuous reports on Steward's financial history and challenges, along with reports that its Massachusetts hospitals are short on medical tools and essential supplies, local news outlets are now zeroing in on Steward CEO Ralph de la Torre's lifestyle.

Dr. de la Torre is the "proud owner" of a $40 million yacht, which he purchased as Steward was facing hundreds of millions in annual rent after Dr. de la Torre and his private equity partners sold land and buildings from under their hospitals, according to a Feb. 9 Boston Globe opinion article authored by former Globe editor Brian McGrory, who now chairs the journalism department at Boston University. 

Dr. de la Torre also has a second yacht, valued at $15 million, Mr. McGrory reported. 

It was also reported in January that Steward owes approximately $50 million to Medical Properties Trust, the largest hospital landlord in the U.S. 

According to the Globe, Dr. de la Torre's ownership of the two yachts highlights an important question: Are these purchases appropriate amid Steward's ongoing financial challenges?

"His hospitals are struggling to stay afloat, no pun intended. Supplies are short, medical tools are being repossessed, vendors aren't getting paid, all while hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed into the pockets of a bunch of private equity partners at Cerberus Capital Management and de la Torre himself," Mr. McGrory said. 

"Yes, Steward is right when they say that Medicaid needs to pay more for care, that regulators need to allow higher reimbursement rates, that their hospitals — utterly vital institutions — face obstacles that more prestigious institutions in wealthier communities will never know. But Steward's owners, Dr. de la Torre especially, are a profoundly flawed messenger for these serious issues," Mr. McGrory said. 

While local politicians also continue to put pressure on Steward leaders over its financial situation, Mr. McGrory suggested that Steward's owners are continuing to put their own financial well-being in front of the health of both their patients and their hospitals. 

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