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Fate of ex-Caritas hospitals raises concerns

A photo from Carney Hospital in Dorchester in 2007. Recent figures from the state Center for Health Information and Analysis showed half of the former Caritas hospitals — including Carney — were unprofitable through the second quarter of this year.
A photo from Carney Hospital in Dorchester in 2007. Recent figures from the state Center for Health Information and Analysis showed half of the former Caritas hospitals — including Carney — were unprofitable through the second quarter of this year.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff/File

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Even before the ink dried on paperwork sealing Steward Health Care System’s buyout of the former Caritas Christi hospitals in 2010, many wondered what would happen when a three-year ban on selling or closing the eastern Massachusetts chain expired.

The ban, a condition imposed on the sale by state Attorney General Martha Coakley, elapses Nov. 8. And while Steward says it has no plans to close any of the six former Caritas facilities — or sell the entire system, which has expanded to 10 acute-care hospitals and one rehabilitation center — community leaders are nervous.

Adding to the anxiety are state financial data showing several Steward hospitals continue to lose money and a flurry of turnover in the system, including the recent departure — at least temporarily — of a high-ranking executive who had been Steward’s operations chief.

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