State slaps Steward with $1,000/week fines
Chain refuses to turn over financial statements
State officials are starting to assess $1,000-a-week fines on Steward Health Care for failing to turn over to regulators the company’s audited financial statements, with the current tab standing at $12,000.
Steward, which is owned by the New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, provides to the state fairly detailed information on the individual hospitals it owns but it has refused to hand over the company’s consolidated financial statement for 2013. Steward says it shouldn’t have to turn over the consolidated financial statement because the document includes information on non-hospital businesses that are not covered by state regulation.
State officials disagree and, after months of negotiations went nowhere, sent Steward an invoice for $5,000 in late November. Andrew Jackmauh, a spokesman for the Center for Health Information & Analysis, said the $1,000-a-week fines currently total $12,000.
The fiscal 2011 statement indicated Steward overall had a net loss of $56.9 million. In fiscal 2012, the loss narrowed to $33 million; at the time, a company spokesman said the loss was in line with the company’s business plan, but a year earlier a Steward attorney had forecasted “positive net income” in 2012.
Brooke Thurston, a spokeswoman for Steward, issued a statement Wednesday night saying the company’s consolidated financial statement contains “confidential information that as a private, investor-owned, tax-paying entity is not relevant.” She said confidential material includes investor information and data on non-hospital businesses and potential out-of-state acquisitions.
Thurston also said the state’s pursuit of Steward’s financial statements exceeds its oversight authority. “Steward has offered to provide CHIA the audited financials with confidential information redacted,” Thurston said. “When this was not enough, Steward offered to provide the redacted version for the record but to sit with CHIA privately and provide the full audit confidentially.”The state’s fines come at a time when Steward is trying to shut down money-losing Quincy Medical Center despite promises to keep it open until 2017.