Steward Has Lost $592 Million in Two Years, but Revenue is Up

Dallas-based Steward Healthcare experienced $592 in losses over the last two years, according to a report from the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis. Steward is the largest private, tax-paying hospital operator in the country, with three dozen hospitals in nine states and Malta and 42,000 employees.

The report repeatedly stated that Steward had not submitted its financial information as is required by Massachusetts law, but data was obtained through an SEC filing by a real estate investment trust. Steward sued the state in 2017 to keep its financial data secret, the Boston Globe reports.

The report showed that most health systems in Massachusetts was profitable, but singled out Steward as the health system with the lowest margin as well as the owner of the hospital with the worst margins. The system experienced a loss of about $270 million in 2018 and $322 million in 2017.

Steward Carney Hospital in Massachusetts experienced nearly a 20 percent deficit in margin for fiscal year 2018. Steward was also the only health system in the report with a negative equity financing ratio, at -37.6 percent.

The Globe reports that the financial statements became public due to a filing from  the real estate investment trust that owns Steward’s hospitals, Medical Properties Trust Inc. The statement shows that revenue jumped from $3.7 billion 2017 to $6.6 billion in 2018 as Steward expanded across the country. Steward sold its hospital buildings in 2016 and quadrupled in size in 2017 around the time it moved to Dallas. 

A Steward spokesperson told The Globe that the financial numbers are misleading because many facilities included in the expansion needed improvements, noting the increase in revenues. “Predictably, this has had an expected effect on financial margins,” Grubb said in an e-mail to the Globe.

Steward has recently been in a dispute with Massachusetts nurses, which was settled after nurses claimed unfair labor practices and released emails where hospital administrators threatened that the strike could cause the hospital to close, which is illegal under federal law.

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