Former AG Jim Shannon Weighs In On Caritas Sale

In an op-ed piece in today’s Boston Globe, former Massachusetts Attorney General and Member of Congress from the 5th District – Jim Shannon – weighs-in on the pending sale of the Caritas Christi Health Care systems to Cerebus Capital Partners – a for-profit private equity firm. Commenting on Attorney General Martha Coakley’s role in the process –  Shannon sees  “an orchestrated effort to get her to move quickly to rubber-stamp the deal.”  Shannon cautions Coakley about taking her time and requiring some conditions:

“…Coakley should carefully consider all the ramifications of this decision because her approval, without appropriate conditions, could severely limit access to quality health care for hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents.

Disclosing his current position as a trustee of Lawrence General Hospital – a sister community hospital to Caritas Christi Holy Family Hospital in the Merrimack Valley – Shannon expresses his concern for the fall-out effect on other hospitals and health care services.

It is not just the Caritas Christi hospitals that are at risk in this deal. In Greater Lawrence, Brockton, and Fall River, the community is served by two hospitals, one run by Caritas Christi and the other a private not-for-profit institution.

I serve as a trustee of Lawrence General Hospital, which together with Caritas Christi’s Holy Family Hospital serves the Greater Lawrence community. There has always been an element of competition in these communities served by two hospitals, and that has benefited the public because both hospitals have a real stake in the long-term well being of their communities…

In this process the competing hospitals could be seriously harmed and forced to cut back drastically on the services they provide to their communities. If, after all of that, Cerberus’s investment in Caritas Christi were to end up like Chrysler, the effect on the health care available to people in the Lawrence, Brockton, and Fall River areas would be catastrophic…

The attorney general should not act until she has all of the information she needs.

Read Jim Shannon’s entire commentary here in the Boston Globe.