Healey Threatens Steward Hospitals with Admission Freezes, Closing Beds if Demands Not Met by Friday

Holy Family Hospital, Haverhill campus. (WHAV News photograph.)

Gov. Maura Healey Tuesday released a list of demands—including financial records and safe staffing and supply levels—she said she is making of Steward Health Care, owner of Holy Family Hospitals in Haverhill and Methuen.

Healey, in a letter sent to Steward CEO Ralph de la Torre, asked the chain to take a number of steps by Friday or face the state “freezing admissions, closing beds, canceling procedures and transferring patients to other hospitals.” One step asks Steward to produce financial records that are required of other health care systems, but that Steward has refused to submit for years.” The governor said information would show whether spending and resources might “put profits over patient care.”

“The time has come to move past our many months of discussions and begin executing a safe, orderly transition of your seven licensed facilities in Massachusetts to new operators as soon as possible,” the letter read.

The governor went on to say, “For years, you have refused to engage in the same level of basic transparency that every other system in Massachusetts offers by not releasing your audited financial statements,” wrote Healey. “Your continued refusal to do so, particularly at this moment, is irresponsible and an affront to the patients, workers and communities that the Steward hospitals serve. It also leads to a further breakdown in trust and creates a major roadblock to our ability to work together to resolve this effectively.”

Steward disputed that the chain hasn’t provided financial data. In a statement, officials wrote, “For more than a decade, Steward hospitals have served as a key healthcare provider to some of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable citizens and communities. As such, we have been working closely with state officials—including providing extensive financial records as requested as well as on-site monitors and cooperation with the Department of Public Health and others. In late 2023 and early 2024, Steward gave regulators in the Commonwealth the audited financial documentation they had requested and is continuing to cooperate closely. We look forward to working cooperatively with the Governor on a solution we all agree must be found to guarantee continuity of care for more than one million patients in the vulnerable communities we serve throughout the Commonwealth.”

The governor’s letter asks de la Torre to ensure safe staffing and appropriate supply levels at each hospital in Massachusetts, allow for increased monitoring and immediately disclose financial documents.

Healey copied U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy and state Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell on the letter.

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