Update on Steward Health Crisis at Tonight’s Haverhill City Council Meeting; Trustee Names Monitor

Holy Family Hospital, 140 Lincoln Ave., Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Speaking on how to continue care at Holy Family Hospitals in Haverhill and Methuen, a representative of a Lawrence-based nonprofit is expected to pose possible next steps during the ongoing Steward Health Care crisis at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Council President Thomas J. Sullivan invited Merrimack Valley Project Community Organizer Julio Mejia to discuss the subject. Steward, which owns Holy Family, declared bankruptcy May 6. Though the healthcare giant said its facilities will remain open, the Lawrence General Hospital medical affairs chief reports the quality of care is decreasing.

State Public Health Commissioner Robbie Goldstein disputed the sentiment, saying “we don’t want people with chest pain driving past the Holy Family campus to go someplace else. And we certainly don’t want a pregnant person who is in active labor to drive past Good Samaritan Hospital, and to try to drive to South Shore Hospital or something else in the region.”

Yesterday, Kevin Epstein, the bankruptcy trustee, named senior living facility owner and health care management consultant Suzanne Koenig to serve as ombudsman monitoring Steward’s hospitals in Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Miami-Dade County in Florida.

As the bankruptcy case proceeds, the state’s next steps are unclear. In other business, Council Vice President Timothy J. Jordan and Councilor Melissa J. Lewandowski are set to propose possible changes to city zoning ordinances.

The Haverhill City Council meets tonight night at 7, remotely and in-person at the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers, room 202, Haverhill City Hall, 4 Summer St. As a public service, 97.9 WHAV plans to carry the meeting live.

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