Steward Health Care's hospitals still losing money

Competition from larger hospitals formidable
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Hospitals in the Steward Health Care System are continuing to lose money two years after the former Caritas Christi Health Care chain was snapped up and converted to for-profit status by a private equity firm, the Boston Globe reported.

According to the Globe, nine of the 10 hospitals in the Steward system in Massachusetts lost money during the first quarter of 2013. St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River was the only facility in the black, earning $4.7 million.

For the most part, the Bay State's largest teaching hospitals posted profits, while the smaller facilities with academic affiliations lost money, according to the Globe.

"The most profitable hospitals are the ones that are able to command higher payments," Alan Sager, a professor of health policy at Boston University, told the Globe. "We again see the survival of the fattest where profitability has more to do with their market leverage than with efficiency."

This seems to be borne out in North Carolina, where the largest hospitals in the Raleigh-Durham region are all profitable, while the rural facilities are suffering, according to the Triangle Business Journal.

However, Steward's management claims it can compete against the larger players in the region. "In a world of Neiman Marcuses, we're OK with being Filene's," Steward Chief Executive Officer Ralph de la Torre, M.D., told Bloomberg Businessweek. Steward is backed by Cerberus Capital Management.

To learn more:
- read the Boston Globe article
- check out the Bloomberg BusinessWeek article
- here's the Triangle Business Journal article

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