Steward Health Care System wants to be a steward of good health. With a total of 2,100 beds, Steward Health operates 11 hospitals including Carney Hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital, Norwood Hospital, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, and Saint Anne's Hospital. Several of the hospitals are affiliated with Boston-area medical schools. The company is a top health care provider in New England; its territory ranges from Rhode Island to eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Steward is owned by Cerberus Capital Management.
The company changed its name from Caritas Christi to Steward Health after being acquired by Cerberus Capital Management in 2010; it had previously been operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. The acquisition by Cerberus was worth some $895 million and provided operational funding and capital for hospital improvement projects; it also helped pay down debt obligations. As a result of the transaction, Steward Health became a for-profit corporation; however, a stipulation of the deal mandates that the health system's hospitals retain their pastoral and charitable care policies. The sale to Cerberus was not the first attempt by the Archdiocese of Boston to sell the ailing Caritas Christi system, which had been suffering from financial troubles for several years prior to the deal.
In addition to hospitals, Steward Health also includes a physician practice organization, an outpatient clinic network, a home care and hospice agency, and Por Cristo, a charitable organization providing services in Ecuador. It also includes the Labouré College, a medical school that confers bachelor's degrees in nursing as well as associate degrees in a range of allied health fields including nutrition, health information, nursing, radiation therapy, and neurodiagnostic technology.
As a result of its acquisition by Cerberus, Steward Health's hospitals are receiving $400 million in technology and infrastructure improvements. The new financial backing is also fueling the company's rapid acquisitions pace. Both of these strategic focus areas assist Steward Health's ambitions to operate as an accountable care organization (ACO, a federal designation that qualifies the network for stimulus funds), a goal that the company met in late 2011 when it was designated as a Pioneer ACO organization by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The ultimate goal of an ACO is to reduce medical costs and increase quality of care by creating a regional platform for unified physician and clinical communication practices.
Acquisitions in 2011 and 2012 included five Massachusetts hospitals: Merrimack Valley Hospital (120 beds), Nashoba Valley Medical Center (60 beds, formerly part of Essent Healthcare), Morton Hospital (150 beds), Quincy Medical Center (200 beds), and New England Sinai Hospital (210 post-acute care beds). The following year Steward Health made efforts to expand into a new region by attempting to acquire Jackson Health System in Florida; however, the company dropped its efforts after receiving a lackluster response from the hospital and its county appointed overseers. The company has also met some resistance from local officials over its proposed purchase of Landmark Medical Center in Rhode Island. – less