Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nonprofit Hospitals Seek Attorney General Conditions for Approving Caritas Conversion

As reported in the Boston Globe, a group of community hospitals that compete with Caritas Christi Health Care in Massachusetts has asked the state attorney general to insist on numerous conditions before consenting to the proposed sale of several Caritas hospitals to its for-profit buyer, Cerberus Capital Management.   The group, consisting of Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital, and Southcoast Hospitals Group in New Bedford, maintains that the conditions are necessary to sustain their viability and to ensure that low-income patients have affordable access to health care services.    The Globe reports that the following conditions were proposed in a letter from the group’s legal counsel to the attorney general:

* Prohibit the Cerberus holding company, Steward, from raising the prices it charges patients and insurance payers for three years.

* Bar Steward from entering exclusive health plan contracts that exclude competing hospitals.

* Restrict the new owner from entering into joint ventures with health insurance carriers.

* Require Steward to disclose all insurance contracts to the attorney general’s office.

* Forbid Steward from “improperly inducing physicians away from the coalition hospitals’’ and require Caritas to file quarterly reports listing doctors who have admitting privileges.

* Extend Steward’s commitment to hold Caritas to seven years.

* Appoint a monitor to oversee Caritas hospitals and require notice of any future sale.


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