Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society on Steward Health Care concerns

Massachusetts Medical Society on Steward Health Care concerns

The Massachusetts Medical Society is grateful for the leadership of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services as the Commonwealth continues to increase patient safety monitoring at Steward hospitals and prepares for the transitions and potential closure of Steward Health Care facilities. We appreciate the administration’s understanding and careful planning for the significant impact on patients and communities given the current vulnerabilities in our health care infrastructure.

Additionally, we thank the Massachusetts congressional delegation for rightfully demanding answers from Steward’s private equity founders about its precarious financial position. This pressure appropriately shines a much-needed light on the need for transparency for private equity-backed health care systems in disclosing all operational information that impacts patient care. The Commonwealth must demand via legislation and regulation this information to ensure these systems are prioritizing patients over profit.

Recognizing the potential disruption for thousands of patients, especially those from underserved communities, who depend upon nearby Steward locations for care, the Medical Society appreciates the administration’s thoughtful focus on regional solutions in planning for continuity of care for patients. This requires coordination by community, regional, and statewide stakeholders to, among other actions, establish processes for the rapid transfer of health records and streamline credentialing procedures for physicians and other care providers who may choose to or be forced to redeploy to other institutions.

We encourage patients and all members of the health care team to report to DPH any concerns regarding quality of care or patient safety issues at Steward facilities.

-Barbara S. Spivak, MD, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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