Steward Health Care announces bankruptcy, shares planned Southeast Texas impacts and beyond

Published 12:07 pm Monday, May 6, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

PORT ARTHUR — Steward Health Care, which operates The Medical Center of Southeast Texas in Port Arthur, announced Monday it is filing of voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Steward is the largest physician-led hospital operator in the United States. The Company is finalizing the terms of debtor-in-possession financing from Medical Properties Trust for initial funding of $75 million and up to an additional $225 million upon the satisfaction of certain conditions acceptable to Medical Properties Trust.

According to Steward officials, the company took this voluntary step as a necessary measure to continue providing necessary care to patients in Port Arthur and across the network without disruption.

“Steward does not expect any interruptions in its day-to-day operations, which will continue in the ordinary course throughout the Chapter 11 process,” a company release stated. “Steward’s hospitals, medical centers and physician’s offices are open and continuing to serve patients and the broader community and our commitment to our employees will not change.”

Dr. Ralph de la Torre, chief executive officer, said Steward Health Care continues doing everything in its power to operate successfully “in a highly challenging health care environment,” adding that filing for Chapter 11 restructuring is in the best interests of patients, physicians, employees and,.

“In the past several months we have secured bridge financing and progressed the sale of our Stewardship Health business in order to help stabilize operations at all of our hospitals,” de la Torre said.

“With the delay in closing of the Stewardship Health transaction, Steward was forced to seek alternative methods of bridging its operations. With the additional financing in this process, we are confident that we will keep hospitals open, supplied, and operating so that our care of our patients and our employees is maintained. By working collaboratively with stakeholders in this court-supervised controlled environment, and having the benefit of our earlier strategic efforts, Steward will be better positioned to responsibly transition ownership of its Massachusetts-based hospitals, keep all of its hospitals open to treat patients, and ensure the continued care and service of our patients and our communities.”

Steward officials said insufficient reimbursement by government payors as a result of decreasing reimbursement rates came at the same time as skyrocketing labor costs, increased material and operational costs due to inflation, and the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic led to this week’s announcement.