May 24, 2024

Warren Urges HHS and CMS to Support MA Hospitals Affected by Steward Bankruptcy

Warren Urges HHS and CMS to Support MA Hospitals Affected by Steward Bankruptcy

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), urging them to support communities and health care providers affected by the crisis caused by Steward Health Care’s (Steward’s) financial mismanagement.

Steward is the largest privately-owned hospital operator in the country, and filed for bankruptcy on May 6, 2024, after years of financial problems. Eight Steward-run hospitals in Massachusetts continue to operate as the bankruptcy proceeds.

“My primary concern as these Massachusetts hospitals go through the bankruptcy process is the communities served by these hospitals, their workers, and the patients that depend on them,” wrote Senator Warren. “However, the future of Steward’s Massachusetts hospitals remains uncertain, with the company attempting to sell them as part of the bankruptcy process by the end of June. I am also concerned by news reports that “(t)he crisis at Steward Health Care is squeezing other hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts.”

Given the uncertainty around Steward’s future and how it will impact the surrounding hospitals, Senator Warren is calling on HHS and CMS to support surrounding communities via the provision of grants, technical assistance, or other capacities to assist communities and health care providers in need.

“Ultimately, my hope is that the hospitals exit from bankruptcy under new ownership, the health care system in the state emerges more cost-effective and competitive, health care providers and hospital workers keep their jobs, and patients retain access to high quality care in their communities,” concluded Senator Warren

Senator Warren is one of the nation’s leading bankruptcy experts, and has been leading congressional oversight of Steward’s failures.

  • On April 19, 2024, Senators Warren and Senator Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to six private credit funds that are holders of Steward’s debt, asking them a series of questions about their loans and calling on them to offer loan modifications that could potentially help keep the hospitals afloat.
  • On April 16, Senators Warren and Markey called out Medical Properties Trust and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners for exploiting Steward Hospitals, and urged them to help keep the hospitals open.
  • On April 8, 2024, Senators Warren, Markey, and the rest of the MA delegation urged the FTC and DOJ to closely scrutinize UnitedHealth Group’s proposed acquisition of Steward Health Care’s physician group, Stewardship Health.
  • On April 3, 2024, Senator Warren delivered remarks at a Senate hearing in Boston titled, “When Health Care Becomes Wealth Care: How Corporate Greed Puts Patient Care and Health Workers at Risk,” which centered on Steward Health Care’s Massachusetts hospitals.
  • On March 26, 2024, Senator Warren released a statement about Steward’s plan to sell its physician group Stewardship Health to UnitedHealth Group’s subsidiary Optum.
  • On March 26, 2024, Senators Warren and Markey sent a letter to Steward CEO and Chairman Dr. Ralph de la Torre, calling on him to testify at a congressional hearing in Boston.
  • On March 8, 2024, Senators Warren and Markey sent a letter to Dr. de la Torre, blasting him for years of financial mismanagement, private equity schemes, and executive profiteering that have led to Steward Health Care’s financial crisis.
  • On February 15, 2024, Senators Warren and Markey, along with all nine members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, sent a letter to Cerberus seeking answers from the private equity firm for its role in creating the current financial challenges at Steward hospitals.
  • On January 29, 2024, Senator Warren released a statement about Steward’s financial situation and allegations of patient neglect at Steward facilities.
  • On January 23, 2024, Senator Warren led the Massachusetts congressional delegation in a letter to the CEO of Steward Health Care pressing the company to brief them on Steward’s financial position, the status of their Massachusetts facilities, and their plans to ensure the communities they serve are not abandoned.