AG’s office will seek 'accountability' on hospitals crisis, Campbell says

Attorney General Andrea Campbell said on Monday that her office intends to “hold folks accountable” for the financial crisis at Steward Health Care that threatens the stability of the state’s public health system. The Mattapan Democrat, who lives just blocks from the Steward-owned Carney Hospital, discussed the matter with the Reporter during a wide-ranging interview held on Monday in Lower Mills.

“We're following it closely,” Campbell said. “We are actively engaged in making sure that we not only hold folks accountable, but that we are ensuring that people have access to healthcare, and that the folks who are providing that healthcare are being paid for the work that they do.

“So, we are still in problem solving mode, working with administration to ensure that continuity of access to care and to protect the providers and the nurses that are doing this work. And at the same time, we will continue to look at all the tools we can bring to bear to hold folks accountable for where we are today.”

Gov. Healey, who copied Campbell on a scathing letter to Steward CEO Ralph De la Torre on Feb. 20, stepped up her negative critique of the for-profit hospital operator on Monday, calling Steward a “house of cards and a charade” that has “put patients and providers and the stability of our market at risk. Healey, who served as the state’s attorney general prior to Campbell, also copied US Attorney Joshua Levy in her correspondence with the Steward leader last week— a not so subtle signal that a criminal investigation could be considered in the future.

In her remarks to the Reporter, Campbell said she “can't say too much on that accountability piece because it's actively unfolding, but,” she added, “residents should know that as we work hard to ensure access to care and work with the administration and the governor on that, we will use every tool in our toolkit to hold folks accountable for the current situation which we find ourselves in. And to also look at ways to prevent this from happening in the future. There’s a direct role we play in that, and we know that, and we take those tools very seriously.

Campbell added: “I share the frustration around transparency and producing of information and documents. We have requested information that we’re still waiting for, and we will keep pushing for that information, which informs… not only the problem solving and ensuring access to critical care and healthcare, but also on this accountability piece.”

Campbell’s comments are the latest from a high-profile state officials who have stepped up the pressure on de la Torre and other Steward executives. A spokesperson for Healey said on Friday that the governor thinks Steward should “complete an orderly transition out of Massachusetts.”

Healey herself has blasted Steward for failing to share financial documents that she says are essential to finding a resolution to the crisis.

"Steward didn't produce audited financials because Steward doesn't have audited financials, which says something about and speaks to the very thing that we have complained about for a long time," the governor told reporters on Monday.

Steward officials did not immediately return requests for comment in response to Healey's latest remarks.

When he was asked on Monday if Steward executives might face future prosecution or investigation, House Speaker Ron Mariano said: “There’s always a chance.”

State House News Service reports contributed to this story.



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