Cash infusion won't keep all Steward hospitals open, congressman says

Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch said the Dallas-based Steward Healthcare's recent infusion of cash is not enough to keep all nine of the system's hospitals in the state open, NPR affiliate WBUR reported Feb. 16.

Steward announced Feb. 2 it "agreed upon the principal terms for a significant financial transaction to help stabilize our company." Details of the financial transaction have not been made public, according to the report. Mr. Lynch said Steward executives told him in recent meetings that the funds are "not enough" but reaffirmed they are not planning to leave Massachussetts. 

"Steward is trying to find buyers or other configurations that will allow these hospitals to continue in operation," Mr. Lynch said, according to the report. 

He said he believes those configurations could include selling Steward's physician practice or finding a buyer for one or more of its hospitals. 

Steward did not respond to a request for comment from WBUR. 

Mr. Lynch, whose congressional district includes five Steward hospitals, has asked Steward to break down its plan for each hospital to help with contingency planning, according to the report.

Steward is a private company and does not have to disclose financial information and has resisted providing full financial statements required of MassacHusetts hospitals, according to the report. Mr. Lynch said this has made it difficult to understand the scope of Steward's problems and how to address them. 

"We're trying to get at Steward for what they've done here, but they've been very cagey," he told WBUR. "They've used some very creative financing and this whole private equity model is very slippery and ill-defined. This is sort of triage, ironically."

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