Proposed Caritas sale gets key OK
The state Public Health Council today unanimously granted licenses that will allow the six Caritas Christi Health Care hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts, including St. Elizabeth's Medical Center and Carney Hospital in Boston, to operate under a new owner.
The council imposed two conditions: first, that the Caritas hospitals strengthen their translational services and linguistics and cultural competencies and, second, that they continue to provide health services such as substance abuse and wellness programs.
In accepting the staff recommendation from the Department of Public Health, the council -- a panel of doctors, consumer advocates, and public health specialists -- moved New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management one step closer to its goal of completing the acquisition of the Caritas system.
The transaction still awaits approval from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which must sign off on the transfer of nonprofit charitable assets to an investor-owned business. The court typically relies on the recommendation of state Attorney General Martha Coakley, who last week approved the sale of Caritas with multiple conditions aimed at protecting the Catholic hospitals, their 12,000 employees, and their patients.
In addition to the Boston hospitals, Caritas operates Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Norwood Hospital, Saint Anne's Hospital in Fall River, and Holy Family Hospital in Methuen.