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Should Cerberus sell Steward Health Care to Tufts Medical Center for $1?

Posted by John McDonough  November 17, 2013 08:44 PM

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That's the premise of a blog posted today by former Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's CEO Paul Levy, which he himself describes at "so outrageous it might actually have merit." Read for yourself Paul's "Modest Proposal" at his "Not Running a Hospital" blog.

The question of Steward Health Care's long-term game plan has been on people's minds ever since the Archdiocese of Boston sold the former Caritas Christi network to the private equity firm, Cerberus, in 2010. I wrote to Paul and asked why on earth Cerberus would find it in their self-interest to do this. He wrote back:

"They have extracted millions in cash already. They haven't invested anything of their own money. They just used retained earnings. This would avoid the losses of actually having to run a system going forward."

I would not hold my breath.  But Paul's questioning does raise the question of the fate of this important hospital and health care system.  Guessing Cerberus' long-term intentions has been a favorite parlor game for Massachusetts health system watchers since their arrival.  Something will happen -- private equity is not made to sit still. 

It's only a question of when...

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

John E. McDonough is a professor of practice at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is the author of the book “Inside National Health Reform”, published in 2011 by More »

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