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Steward to buy IASIS

The latest blockbuster hospital-system merger:

Boston-based Steward Health Care LLC  has agreed to buy Franklin, Tenn.-based IASIS Healthcare. The companies said that the transaction would make Steward the largest private for-profit U.S. hospital operator,  with 36 hospitals across 10 states, managed-care operations in Arizona, Utah and Massachusetts, and projected revenues of almost $8 billion in 2018, the first year of consolidated operations. The merger is expected to close in this year’s third calendar, subject to  regulatory approvals, terms and conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Steward currently runs 18 hospitals and directly employs more than 1,300 multi-specialty physicians in Massachusetts, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. IASIS operates 17 hospitals and one behavioral-health hospital in locations across Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

If the deal goes through, Steward will have nearly 7,500 patient beds across 10 states with about 38,000 employees, including more than 1,800 directly employed multi-specialty physicians and several thousand aligned physicians.

To read more, please hit this link.



Mass. physicians group sues Steward Health Care


A physicians’ group in southeastern Massachusetts  called Compass Medical PC is suing the for-profit Steward Health Care System over what the physicians say are millions of dollars in overdue payments to Compass members.

The Boston Globe reports that “Compass has accused Steward of failing to pay bonuses to doctors and rents on office space and equipment. On Friday, the East Bridgewater-based doctors group sued Steward for more than $20 million in damages.”

“We have worked for over two years to secure this reimbursement and have complied with every request made by Steward to supply needed information and data, and now for the good of our providers and patients, we must take this action,” Compass chief executive Jamie Barber said.

The newspaper reported that “Steward, which owns nine Massachusetts hospitals, shot back with the threat of its own lawsuit, accusing Compass of engaging in ‘deceptive financial practices with the objective of enriching itself at the expense of patients and Steward.”’

“Boston-based Steward said …. Compass officials knowingly received at least $3.5 million more than they were owed from Steward. They said Compass executives refused to consult the Department of Justice about the matter and refused to settle the dispute.”

“Herbert L. Holtz, a lawyer at the Boston firm Holtz & Reed LLP who represents Steward, described ‘an egregious pattern of greed’ at Compass. He said Compass executives were paid $70 million in administrative fees over four years through their lucrative contract with Steward,” the paper reported.

Stewart asserted that Compass’s company’s statements reflect “an alternate reality that bears no resemblance to any actual event,” but Compass alleged that Steward hid important information in the dispute.

It looks like this case will get even nastier.

To read the whole Globe story, please hit this link.

Dr. Poses goes after Steward Health Care


Roy Poses,  M.D., in his Health Care Renewal blog,  denounces Steward Health Care, a private-equity creature that will sell off its hospitals but continue to operate all of them.

His comments stem from a Sept. 26 Boston Globe article leading off with:

“Steward Health Care System said  that it lined up $1.25 billion from a real estate investment firm that will help the Boston-based company finance a national expansion, pay off debt, and return money to the private equity firm that bought it almost six years ago.

“Steward said Medical Properties Trust Inc. would buy all of its hospital properties for $1.2 billion and pay $50 million for a 5 percent equity stake in the company. Steward will lease the properties from MPT, based in Birmingham, Ala.”

Dr. Poses writes:

“Steward Health Care, as run by Cerberus {a private-equity firm}, was one of the earlier leaders in hiring corporate physicians, whom it pressured to avoid ‘leakage’ of patients to other hospitals and doctors, even if some might question whether the care provided elsewhere might be better for those patients. The multimillion dollar a year CEO of Steward suggested the health care had become a commodity, objectionable to those who thought that health care should be a mission-based calling.

“After Steward consolidated, operational misadventures began.  In 2013, it closed the pediatric unit at Morton Hospital {in Attleboro, Mass.}  In 2014, it closed Quincy Hospital, despite promises that it would expand health care services, and specifically not close that hospital so quickly.   Starting in 2014, Steward stonewalled state requests to disclose financial data as required by state regulations after the private equity takeover.   In 2016, Steward continued to withhold financial data  and closed the short-lived family medicine residency program at Carney Hospital,  amidst complaints by the residents about poor organization, and inadequate numbers of faculty.”

To read Dr. Poses’s entry, please hit this link.

To read The Globe’s story, please his this link.



For-profit Steward fined for delays in filing


Steward Health Care, the Boston-based, private equity-backed hospital chain, faces state fines for failing to file its financial statements on time, Modern Healthcare reported.

All Massachusetts health systems and hospitals must file their financial results with the state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis, established  as part of major healthcare cost-control legislation to collect data from insurers and providers on their financial performance as well as healthcare prices, spending and costs.

Steward missed an April deadline, and started incurring a fine of $1,000 a  week on June 29. The fine is the maximum that the law allows.  Annual penalties cannot exceed $50,000.

The company also was late filing is fiscal 2013 results,  due in April 2014. Steward didn’t file the results until March of this year.

Steward is the only hospital operator not in compliance this year.  The filing delays, coming from for-profit chain in a state still dominated by health systems that are officially nonprofit. Steward’s problems may make it more difficult for other for-profits to enter the state.

Despite the losses at  a couple of its hospitals, Quincy and Carney, Steward’s hospital business had a $41 million profit in 2014, said Brooke Thurston, a spokeswoman at Steward.

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