Steward unveils deal to buy Lowell's Saints Medical Center
Steward Health Care System this morning unveiled its second deal in the past four days to acquire an eastern Massachusetts hospital, saying it has a letter of intent to buy Saints Medical Center in Lowell.
Saints is a 157-bed Catholic community hospital formed through the merger of two separate local hospitals in the late 1990s. Under the letter of intent, it will retain its Catholic identity as it affiliates with Steward, which runs six other Catholic hospitals in the state, including St. Elizabeth's Medical Center and Carney Hospital in Boston.
Financial terms will be negotiated in an asset purchase agreement, which is expected to take another 30 to 60 days.
Stephen Guimond, who took over as the Saints chief executive last May, said in an interview this morning that Boston-based Steward "seemed to line up best with our mission, vision, and values. Strategically, they're a very good fit. They align very well for us."
Saints, which has about 1,300 employees and nearly 400 affiliated doctors, has turned down several offers in recent years to merge with its cross-town neighbor, Lowell General Hospital. An earlier agreement for Saints to be purchased by Covenant Health Systems of Tewksbury fell through last summer.
In addition to the six Caritas Christi Health Care hospitals it bought last fall, Steward, owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, reached an agreement in December to buy a pair of for-profit secular hospitals, Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill and Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer. Those deals await approval by the state Department of Public Health, which must issue new licenses.
And last Friday, the Boston-based Steward said it had entered into an asset purchase agreement for Morton Hospital and Medical Center, a 154-bed community hospital in Taunton. That deal and the Saints agreement would convert two non-profit hospitals to for-profit status, a process that requires a recommendation from the attorney general to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
Cerberus went through that same process last year when it formed Steward to buy and run the Caritas Christi hospitals.