Steward Health Care sues Massachusetts to avoid financial disclosures

Steward Health Care, a 36-hospital system based in Boston, is suing state officials for demanding financial information, according to The Boston Globe.

Steward has incurred more than $300,000 in fines for failing to submit years of financial information to the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis, an agency that collects financial information from Massachusetts health systems. Steward has not paid the fines and argues in a lawsuit filed Friday that the agency does not have authority to demand and collect the financial information.

"CHIA has, for four successive years, demanded that Steward hand over financial statements containing confidential business information that CHIA has no statutory authority to collect and no apparent will to keep private," Steward said in court documents, according to The Boston Globe.

CHIA collects information about hospital revenues, profits, losses, debt and other details — much of which is already posted online — to monitor the healthcare industry in Massachusetts. Steward filed heavily redacted annual financial reports for 2014 and 2015 with CHIA and reported no information for 2016. According to The Boston Globe, Steward is the only organization that has repeatedly failed to submit the financial information to CHIA. 

An attorney representing Steward told The Boston Globe the health system has submitted financial information about its hospitals to the state. However, Steward argues CHIA does not have authority to demand information about the health system's physician practices, home healthcare services and mobile medical imaging services.

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