News & Events

As the Bankruptcy Process Unfolds MNA Calls for Commitment by Healey Administration to Ensure the Preservation of ALL the Steward Hospitals

Over the next five weeks, we await information on new operators of the nine Steward hospitals in Massachusetts that will ensure the preservation of these hospitals to protect the public health of the communities they serve. 

While we hope that this process results in all the hospitals finding responsible new owners, the communities impacted by this crisis should also be concerned that to date, there has been no concrete plan articulated by the Healey administration or the state legislature that would guarantee the preservation of all nine hospitals in the event a new operator is not identified for each of the hospitals.

We appreciate the work of Governor Healey, her administration and the leadership of the legislature.  However, we are increasingly concerned about public statements as well as private conversations with persons with firsthand knowledge of the internal deliberations, that the administration may consider it acceptable collateral damage if some of the hospitals do not survive.  We are particularly concerned that this view is repeatedly heard in relationship to Dorchester’s Carney Hospital, Haverhill’s Holy Family Hospital (formerly known as Hale Hospital and Merrimack Valley Hospital) and Ayer’s Nashoba Valley Medical Center. Nor do we have any clarity on the future of Norwood hospital currently under construction.

The loss of any of these hospitals would have a devastating impact on the members of the communities they serve; and that any discussion of contingency planning that relies on transferring these patients to other already overwhelmed facilities is not a viable or morally acceptable solution;  and would have catastrophic consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. As an organization on the frontlines of the healthcare system we understand the impact the loss of these hospitals will have on our patients: it is a new mother experiencing a complicated labor and delivery, or an elderly grandmother showing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, it is that 18 year old student involved in a potentially fatal car crash, all of whom needing care to save their lives, where every second counts, when access to care close to home can spell the difference between life and death.  

We have heard public statements from various state officials to the effect that, “We will not bail out Steward.” Indeed, we should not, but no one is asking anyone to do so. Steward will and should leave this state. The House has recently passed comprehensive legislation targeted to addressing many of these problems on a prospective basis. And while these efforts are desperately needed, the state government must ensure the survival of the people served by these facilities, and must do everything that is necessary to preserve these hospitals. Any changes in services currently in effect should only be implemented after a comprehensive assessment by the state that assures communities, particularly those disproportionately impacted, are not subject for further loss of health care access.

No community is expendable. All of our communities are worth fighting for. The MNA is working with municipal leaders, community, labor and faith-based organizations to call upon the Governor, the Attorney General and the Legislature to pledge their commitment that, should it become necessary, they will invest all needed resources and state power to save these hospitals.