A suburban Boston hospital, drowning as an independent in a sea of healthcare systems, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week and closed while it awaits court-brokered acquisition offers.
Boston Regional Medical Center, a Stoneham, Mass., facility licensed for 195 beds, had accepted only short-stay obstetrical inpatients since Jan. 22. The hospital had fewer than 40 patients when it went to court Feb. 4 and closed.
At the federal bankruptcy court hearing, "multiple parties" said they were interested in buying the facility, but their identities were not disclosed, a hospital spokeswoman said.
After being plagued by debt and operating losses, the facility reached a deal in 1997 to sell an 80% stake to Doctors Healthcare Management Corp., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based management company.
The deal was intended to provide access to capital and remove a long-term debt burden of about $37 million, said Charles Ricks, president and chief executive officer at Boston Regional (Sept. 29, 1997, p. 22).
The deal was set to close in April 1998 but never did. A spokeswoman for Doctors Healthcare was unavailable for comment at deadline.
Boston Regional lost $2.1 million on gross revenues of $100 million in fiscal 1996 ended Sept. 30, according to American Hospital Directory, a Neptune, N.J.-based information service. In fiscal 1997, the loss increased to $7.8 million, according to the Associated Press.
In a statement, the hospital said, "Although much progress had been made to financially and operationally restructure BRMC, management and the board of trustees concluded that this action was necessary."
Until the Doctors Healthcare deal unfolded, Ricks had criticized local hospitals' tendency to join large healthcare networks. He had counseled community hospitals to develop their local service areas instead.
Boston Regional had planned to keep operating its outpatient and obstetrical services while transferring medical-surgical inpatients to other healthcare facilities chosen by patients and their families and physicians.
But the hospital later decided to shut down all services and leave only a skeleton staff in place while purchase offers were evaluated, the hospital spokeswoman said.