BROCKTON — Steward Health Care executives told Brockton Mayor Robert F. Sullivan they have no plans to close Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Sullivan said he confirmed with Good Sam President Matthew Hesketh and other Steward officials that the West Side hospital will stay open despite the financial troubles of its for-profit parent company. A Steward spokesperson verified: “The short answer is we are not closing Good Sam,” said Deborah Chiaravalloti.
Good Sam and other nearby hospitals have been taking up the slack for Brockton Hospital, which remains closed as it recovers from last February’s 10-alarm fire. Sullivan said help is on the way, with Brockton Hospital planning to be fully reopened by June.
A Signature Healthcare spokesperson confirmed that timeline.
“The hospital will open in a phased-in approach late spring,” said Lorraine McGrath, associate vice president of marketing and communications for Signature. “We have every intention of safely reopening the hospital ASAP and are continuing to upgrade and rebuild the entire electrical infrastructure and rewiring the entire 250,000-square foot building due to the extensive damage caused by the 10-alarm electrical fire.”
Sullivan said the city will in short order have two full-time operational medical facilities, not counting the Veterans Administration Medical Center on Belmont Street.
“With Brockton Hospital not open until June, we need to make sure we have a trauma hospital in the city of Brockton,” the mayor said in a Thursday phone call.
Shocking levels of violence and chaos Emotional teachers describe their experiences at Brockton High School
Steward secures financing to shore up operations
For residents who remain skeptical about Steward’s pledge to keep Good Sam open, an internal memo circulated by a Steward vice president offered some evidence Steward could keep its promise.
“Despite troubling news reports about our Massachusetts hospitals, I want to inform you that Steward has agreed upon the principal terms for a significant financial transaction to help stabilize our company,” Executive Vice President Dr. Michael Callum said in a Friday memo to employees. Steward provided the Enterprise a copy of the memo.
If the funding comes through, it will allow Steward to resume “virtually all elective cases,” Callum wrote, adding that separate merger-and-acquisition talks would shore up Steward’s physician organization.
“To be clear, we have no current plans to close any of our hospitals in Massachusetts,” Callum wrote in his email.
Brockton Eats with Alisha Taste the flavors of Italy right in Brockton
Callum said Steward is considering transferring one or more of its Massachusetts hospitals to other operators.
A labor leader welcomed the news. Tim Foley, executive vice president for the Service Employees International Union Local 1199, which represents 5,000 Steward employees, said in a Friday statement that “The healthcare workers of 1199SEIU members welcome the announcement of Steward securing bridge financing that will provide additional time to create a long-term solution to preserve community care across the Commonwealth,” he said.
The local represents about 800 workers at Good Sam, an SEIU spokesperson said.
Good Sam, Morton and St. Anne’s all profitable
Also in Good Sam’s favor is that it continues to operate in the black, Sullivan said Steward leaders told him. That has historically been true. The most recent data from the Center for Health Information and Analysis, a state agency, says Good Sam was running an operating margin of 12.5% in the fiscal year through Sept. 30, 2023. That’s much higher than some Steward hospitals.
Morton Hospital in Taunton had a positive operating margin of 1.4%.
St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River also shows positive revenue of 10.8% for the period.
The agency said Steward submitted information for individual hospitals but not for their network as a whole, and not for their physician practice.