Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society on potential Steward physician group sale

Massachusetts Medical Society on potential Steward physician group sale

The financial undoing of Steward Health Care has threatened to collapse an already stressed Massachusetts health care infrastructure. This is a cautionary example of the adverse ramifications of private equity firms’ involvement in health care, which too often prioritizes profits over patient care, and deploys reckless cost-cutting measures that endanger patients and the health care workforce.

The proposed sale of Stewardship Health to Optum is a major development in the Massachusetts health care system that demands serious scrutiny. Any entity that enters or expands its presence in the Massachusetts health care market bears significant responsibility to patients and health care providers. The conditions of this proposed sale must outline measures for quality, staffing and financial transparency and accountability to protect and advance equitable access to affordable care, especially for patients from historically underserved communities, and to address drivers that are causing a workforce shortage among physicians and our health care teams.

The Medical Society has full confidence that the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) will carefully review the potential sale of Stewardship Health to discern the potential impact on health care costs as well as access to quality, equitable and affordable care for all. Whether and how the state can use that analysis to implement safeguards for our patients and provider community is an imperative that must be addressed.

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

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