Auction for some Steward hospitals delayed 3 weeks

Dallas-based Steward Health Care has extended the auction date for some of its 31 hospitals and its physician group, Stewardship Health, by three weeks.

In June 18 bankruptcy court filings obtained by Becker's, the health system shared plans to extend the sale process for Stewardship Health and its "first-round hospitals" in Arizona and Massachusetts, and St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston.

The new bid deadline for the facilities and physician group is July 15, with an auction of July 18 and a proposed sale hearing of July 31. 

"We have extended the bid deadlines to a more reasonable date," a spokesperson for Steward said in a June 20 statement shared with Becker's. "The extension gives everyone involved time to develop robust bids."

News of the extension comes after Steward, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 6, received approval from U.S. bankruptcy Judge Chris Lopez on June 3 to sell its facilities and Stewardship Health in two rounds. 

The first round of hospitals and Stewardship Health were initially set with a bid deadline of June 24 and a first sale hearing of July 11. The second round, which includes Steward's Florida hospitals and four Texas facilities, was approved for a bid deadline of Aug. 12 and an Aug. 22 sale hearing.

Steward has no plans to modify the existing bidding procedures for its second-round hospitals and other assets at this time, the June 18 filings said. 

A $225 million loan to support Steward's hospital operations was also approved by Mr. Lopez during a June 13 hearing. However, concerns loom regarding what will happen to the hospitals that do not receive bids. 

"While we hope that ultimately all hospitals will receive bids, and there will be new operators for each of these hospitals, we are obviously concerned about a situation when there is no bid for a particular hospital," Hugh McDonald, an attorney for the commonwealth of Massachusetts and its health and human services office, said during the hearing. 

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