‘Troubling trend’: Healthcare network announces plan to close Massachusetts hospital

STOUGHTON, Mass. — The largest physician-led healthcare network in the United States has announced a plan to close a hospital in Massachusetts in the coming months.

Steward Health Care on Monday notified state officials of its plan to close New England Sinai Acute Long-Term Care And Rehabilitation Hospital in Stoughton and place patients in other facilities by early April 2024.

In a statement, Steward Health Care said it can no longer afford to keep the Stoughton facility open, citing “chronic low reimbursement rates” for services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients, as well as the loss of $22 million from NESH operations.

“Nearly 75% of Steward hospital patients are public pay, which chronically underpays, sometimes at rates less than the cost of delivering services,” the network explained. “Unlike ‘non-profit’ systems, Steward does not have a multibillion-dollar investment portfolio to fall back on.”

Steward Health Care is the largest owner of community-based hospitals, the largest provider of in-patient behavioral health, and employs the highest percentage of union employees of any other hospital system in Massachusetts.

“Unfortunately, NESH’s planned closure continues a troubling trend for the health care system in Massachusetts, where access to community-based care continues to decay because of sustained under-reimbursements,” the network added.

The network vowed to coordinate with all NESH patients and their families over the next 120 days to find appropriate continuing care, utilizing the more than 150 skilled nursing facilities located within 25 miles of the hospital.

“Today, the current average length of stay at NESH ranges from 41 to 48 days, which should provide ample time to successfully place any existing patients within the 120-day timeframe,” the network explained.

Based in Dallas, Steward currently operates 33 hospitals across Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

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