Steward Health Care Needs $300M Loan To Avoid Bankruptcy – Leaves Patient Care at Risk

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: May 08, 2024

Hospital operator Steward Health Care’s growing list of problems has become public as the company has announced they are filing for bankruptcy protection. Steward has also indicated that they are seeking a $300 million loan from Medical Properties Trust.

As Steward owns many hospitals throughout the United States, both the public and state politicians have grown worried that patient care could immediately falter as Steward struggles to stay afloat.

Steward Files for Bankruptcy

Steward Health Care has officially filed for bankruptcy protection after a slew of financial problems became public earlier this year.

A view of a sign and a building of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston.

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According to Steward, the Chapter 11 process will better help them deal with their finances, as well as keep them steady as they continue to care for patients in Massachusetts and around the country.

Caring for Patients

Steward also made sure to calm some nerves that many have, as they have stated that they will continue to provide the care and assistance that many patients at their hospitals need.

A woman lying down in a hospital bed with sunlight shining through the window.

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The company said, “Steward does not expect any interruptions in its day-to-day operations, which will continue in the ordinary course throughout the Chapter 11 process.”

Hospitals Will Stay Open

Steward also explained in a written statement that their hospitals and buildings will stay open. They will not suddenly close.

St. Joseph’s Medical Center seen in the daytime in Texas.

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“Steward’s hospitals, medical centers and physician’s offices are open and continuing to serve patients and the broader community and our commitment to our employees will not change,” the company stated.

Steward’s Problems Persist

This bankruptcy protection filing comes as Steward’s financial problems became public earlier this year. The for-profit hospital operator previously revealed that they owed $50 million in unpaid rent.

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston seen underneath a blue sky.

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To try to combat these money issues, Steward ended up closing one medical facility. Now, the hospital group has also indicated that they could sell all of their other assets.

A Huge Hospital Operator

Steward is a big hospital and medical facility operator throughout much of the United States. Though Dallas-based, Steward has more than 30 hospitals around the country.

A bird’s eye view of the Boston skyline seen behind a body of water in the daytime.

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The private hospital group also owns eight hospitals in Massachusetts alone. As a result of the many facilities they operate, state officials have grown very concerned about what Steward’s next steps may be as they try to deal with all of their financial woes.


Politicians Respond to Steward’s Issues

As Steward has long had trouble in Massachusetts, this latest bankruptcy protection filing has ignited even more fervor over their past issues.

Elizabeth Warren holding a microphone.

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Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey both have criticized the hospital operator, stating that the private equity owners that previously ran the company ruined Steward and “walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars.”


Massachusetts’ Response

Many regular citizens of Massachusetts have grown increasingly worried that their local hospitals will suddenly shut down because of Steward’s financial problems.

An official portrait of Maura Healey standing outside.

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As a result of this concern, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey has worked to assuage any fears that residents of the state may have.


Helping the People of Massachusetts

Healey has explained that Massachusetts and its government officials have been preparing for Steward’s potential bankruptcy filing. Now that this has happened, they are working to help those in the state who may be affected by it.

A view of downtown Boston behind a body of water in the daytime.

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As she’s sure many have worries, she has worked with the state to create a call center. People can call this center if they have any questions about these proceedings.


Healey Criticizes Steward

Healey assured residents of the state that Steward hospitals would remain open. Therefore, patients should continue to go to their appointments at these facilities. However, the governor also heavily criticized Steward.

An official portrait of Maura Healey, who is wearing a blue suit jacket.

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“This situation stems from and is rooted in greed, mismanagement, and lack of transparency on the part of Steward leadership in Dallas, Texas,” Healey said. “It’s a situation that should never have happened and we’ll be working together to take steps to make sure this never happens again.”


Holding Steward Responsible

Other Massachusetts officials, such as Attorney General Andrea Campbell, have also come out to make sure that Steward doesn’t put patient care at risk. According to Campbell, Steward cannot “immediately shut its doors and leave town.”

A person holding another’s hand in comfort.

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She added, “I also want to make it crystal clear that I take very seriously any effort for this hospital system to make a profit to the detriment of patients, to strip-mine hospitals for their value.”


Steward’s Next Steps

Steward has already announced the next steps that they will take. They are working to seek financing from its landlord Medical Properties Trust.

An aerial view of Boston seen in the daytime.

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Though their initial funding ask is $75 million, they plan to seek an additional $225 million — and up to $300 million in total.