Steward Health Care's strategy for community hospitals

Steward Health Care System, a nine-hospital for-profit system based in Boston, is funneling millions of dollars into its emergency departments to improve the patient experience, according to The Boston Globe.

The system is refurbishing older facilties, some that date back to the 1980s, to give patients more privacy, reduce noise and update caregivers' workspace.

Tauton, Mass.-based Morton Hospital opened the system's most recent ED improvement last week with a $25 million new facility, outfitted with 43 private rooms divided into four areas based on patient severity, according to the report. This is one of many redesigns taking place at Steward hospitals, including one underway at Dorchester, Mass.-based Carney Hospital, as well as several completed at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, Mass., Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass., Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Mass., and Saint Anne's Hospital in Fall River, Mass., according to the report.

Mark Pearlmutter, MD, Steward's vice president of emergency network services, told The Boston Globe the ED redesigns have increased patient numbers from 6 to 14 percent. ED visits have plateaued statewide, Dr. Pearlmutter told the Globe, indicating Steward may have captured a larger portion of the market.

In addition to revamped emergency services at its hospitals, Steward Health Care is also a leader in urgent care, with 30 affiliated urgent and express care locations in Eastern Massachusetts.

Correction: This article was updated Oct. 5 at 4:56 p.m. CST. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Steward Health Care is directing patients to the ED in repsonse to rising competition from teaching hospitals and urgent care centers. Steward Health Care is a major provider of urgent care in Massachusetts and is instead renovating EDs to update old facilities. It also incorrectly stated Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, and Milford Regional Medical Center were part of the Steward system. We regret these errors.

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