In the Merrimack Valley: Steward/Caritas to Lowell?

There’s a report in today’s Boston Globe that there is a tentative agreement in place for the Steward Health Care System that recently purchased the Caritas hospital system to acquire Saints Medical Center in Lowell.

For-profit health care is expanding in Massachusetts, with community hospitals in Taunton and Lowell expected to soon disclose deals to be sold, probably to Steward Health Care System, while other struggling nonprofit hospitals around the state ponder similar bids.

Steward, the Boston for-profit company formed last year to run the six Caritas Christi hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts, appears to have the upper hand in bidding for Morton Hospital and Medical Center in Taunton, according to people briefed on the negotiations. It also has a preliminary agreement to buy Saints Medical Center in Lowell, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are confidential.

This possible purchase of this Catholic, non-profit hospital is a huge development for the delivery of health care in this part of the Merrimack Valley. Steward acquired Holy Family Hospital in Methuen as part of the Caritas take-over last year.  Last December Steward agreed  to pay $21 million for Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill and Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer. Those deals await approval by the state. Remember the process needed to acquire Caritas? The Attorney General, Mass Department of Health and the Court all have a role to play as they represent what’s best for the local communities. Stay tuned as this is sure to cause concern in Lowell and elsewhere. This change to a for-profit health care delivery system brings  cultural and economic change to the affected communities.

Read the full Robert Weisman and Liz Kowalczyk article here at

Update at 8:40am – the Lowell Sun has an item here on BreakingNews at their website.