Steward to close Massachusetts rehab hospital

Steward Health Care is planning to close Stoughton, Mass.-based New England Sinai Hospital this spring, the system said Dec. 4.

Dallas-based Steward aims to close the rehabilitation hospital and relocate patients to nearby skilled nursing facilities by early April. The system is planning to place affected employees at other Steward hospitals in the state, which currently have 820 vacancies. 

Steward notified state officials of the planned closure Dec. 4, attributing the decision to financial challenges and "chronic low reimbursement rates" for Medicare and Medicaid services. 

"Nearly 75% of Steward hospital patients are public pay, which chronically underpays, sometimes at rates less than the cost of delivering services," the health system said in a Dec. 4 news release. "As a result of these chronic low reimbursement rates, Steward has lost $22 million from NESH operations and cannot afford to keep the facility open. Unlike 'non-profit' systems, Steward does not have a multibillion-dollar investment portfolio to fall back on."

Steward said the closure "continues a troubling trend for the healthcare system in Massachusetts, where access to community-based care continues to decay because of sustained under-reimbursements."

Editor's note: This article was updated Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. CT.

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