Steward wants right to unlimited layoffs, cut services in hospital purchase

Massachusetts for-profit hospital operator Steward Health Care Services wants to buy Landmark Medical Center in Rhode Island, but with the right to make unlimited layoffs and the ability to cut services, Providence Journal reported yesterday. Steward, a growing chain in Massachusetts with 10 hospitals under its umbrella in the state, also is asking the neighboring state of Rhode Island to change its hospital-merger laws to eliminate a rule that for-profit hospitals must wait three years in between hospital acquisitions.

Hospital spokesman Chris Murphy told the newspaper that the marketplace changes affecting the obstetrics and psychiatry specialties have driven Steward Health Care Services to seek a freer hand with decisions related to layoffs and service cuts. If the services become too small to function safely, Steward will need to close them, he said. Article

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