Mass General Brigham pulls physicians from Steward hospitals amid financial woes

Somerville, Mass.-based Mass General Brigham has pulled its physicians out of Steward Health Care's Holy Family Hospital campuses amid Steward's financial challenges, Boston Business Journal reported Jan. 26. 

The health system sent an email Jan. 26 saying its physicians will no longer perform any procedures at the two hospital campuses in Haverhill and Methuen, Mass.

The move comes after Dallas-based Steward said it aims to sell Holy Family Hospital and three other hospitals in the state and was roughly $50 million behind on rent to Medical Properties Trust last year. The hospital has hired a law and consulting firm to explore restructuring options, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 25

"This decision was made because of concerns about practicing in an environment that does not meet our standards of safe patient care," Mass General's email read, according to the Business Journal. "We have already begun to communicate this change to our patients, and we will be rescheduling their care at a nearby Mass General Brigham or community hospital location as soon as possible. Patient safety is our top priority, and it is critical that our providers have all the resources and equipment necessary to safely care for their patients."

Mass General Brigham's CMO, Tom Sequist, MD, said that the orthopedic and gastrointestinal procedures performed by a small number of physicians were rescheduled after hearing certain equipment may not be available at Holy Family Hospital.

"We have contacted impacted patients, and we are working to reschedule their procedures as soon as possible at a nearby Mass General Brigham or community hospital location," he told Becker's on Jan. 26. "We do not have specific knowledge of safety concerns at Holy Family, and we are working through this situation as it evolves so that we are in a position to best serve our patients."

A Steward spokesperson told Becker's that the decision "underscores the fact that Steward hospitals do not receive the support they need, nor the recognition of the quality care they provide."

"We deeply regret Mass General Brigham's decision to no longer conduct surgeries at Holy Family Hospital, a facility that serves a vulnerable patient population in their community, who need and deserve quality healthcare close to home," the spokesperson added. "This decision will only further exacerbate the serious health equity issues already existing within the local community."

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