ValleyCare hospitals now owned by Steward Health Care System


By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Union leaders at local hospitals say they are ready and hopeful for positive change at the ValleyCare Health System of Ohio.

The sale of eight Community Health Systems hospitals to Boston-based Steward Health Care LLC was completed Monday. The sale included ValleyCare Health System of Ohio, which is composed of of 355-bed Northside Medical Center in Youngstown, 311-bed Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren and 69-bed Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland.

“We are very pleased with their approach,” said Thomas Connelly, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Local 2026 representing about 400 registered nurses at Trumbull Memorial. “We look forward to collaborating with them. We believe we are going to see significant improvements in the way employees are treated and our patients are treated.

The sale, announced in February, also included 258-bed Sharon Regional Health System in Sharon, Pa., and 196-bed Easton Hospital in Easton, Pa., and three hospitals in Florida.

The value of the sale has not been released, but Tennessee-based CHS said it would use the funds to pay off debts. CHS purchased ValleyCare, formerly Forum Health, out of bankruptcy in 2010.

Steward is a private, physician-led, for-profit health care provider with 18 hospitals in four states with 4,300 doctors and 23,000 employees. In 2010, Steward acquired the Caritas Christi Health System, a nonprofit Roman Catholic health care system. Steward is backed by Cerberus Capital Management of New York. The purchase of CHS hospitals was the first for the company outside of Massachusetts.

“As we expand our integrated, community-based health care model to new regions, we look forward to ensuring the highest level of care for our new patients,” said Dr. Mark Girard, president of Steward Health Care Network, in a statement. “We are proud to welcome the patients, employees, and physicians in these communities to the Steward family.”

Laurie Hornberger, president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association affiliated with the Ohio Nurses Association representing more than 200 registered nurses, said she met with Steward officials on Monday.

“We are hopeful for the change,” Hornberger said. “We welcome the new change. I think the same goal is quality care for patients.”

Also on Monday, CHS reported first-quarter revenues of $4.486 billion, a 10.3 percent decrease, compared with $4.999 billion for the same period in 2016. CHS reported a $198 million loss during the first quarter compared with $12 million in income during the first quarter of 2016.

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