Opinions Vary in Merrimack Valley on Caritas Transfer

The Eagle-Tribune is reporting today that opinions vary on the future impact of Caritas Holy Family Hospital going the for-profit route. The fifth of six public hearings was held last night in Methuen by the office of  AG Martha Coakley and the Department of Public Health who are both overseering the process. Over 150 people attended the hearings  on the transfer of Caritas Christi Health System — and the six hospitals it operates in eastern Massachusetts — to Steward Health Care System LLC, an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

In his article Brian Messenger writes:

The majority of those who spoke at last night’s hearing were employees of either Holy Family or Lawrence General hospitals, two of the largest employers in the area.

But while the vast majority who worked for Holy Family praised the potential change in ownership, many workers from Lawrence General saw the sale as a threat.

Dozens of Lawrence General employees were bussed to the hearing. Many of them sported buttons that read, “Preserve our Community’s Health Care Access.”

They raised questions about how an out-of-state private equity firm could remain committed to providing quality, affordable health care and community programs.

Methuen Mayor Bill Manzi, Holy Family Board of Governors member Anthony Stankiewicz and Caritas Christi Health Care President Ralph de la Torre spoke on behalf of the proposed sale citing financial need, jobs and supporting community programs. Lawrence General Hospital President  Dianne Anderson expressed concern about the fall-out and the ” impact on Lawrence General Hospital (a non-profit community hospital) and future access and affordability of health care in the Merrimack Valley.”

Read the full story here in the Eagle-Tribune. Stay-tuned.