Editor's note: This item has been corrected regarding the system's earnings.
A progress report on Massachusetts troubled six-hospital Caritas Christi Health Care system has recommended a major restructuring focused on making the provider more competitive and financially lean.
The recommendations include the Archdiocese of Boston turning over control of the system to an independent board of directors; establishing 211-bed Caritas St. Elizabeths Medical Center, Brighton, as a community teaching hospital focused on two or three specialty services; turning Dorchesters 155-bed Caritas Carney Hospital into a behavioral-health facility; and renegotiating compensation contracts for the Caritas Physicians Networks member doctors.
The recommendations were made by the Philadelphia-based management consulting firm Health Strategies & Solutions, which was hired by the Massachusetts attorney generals office to review Caritas Christi. The system's physician network lost $30 million in fiscal 2007 and is expected to lose another $15 million this year. In fiscal 2007 ended Sept. 30, the system made $3.7 million, and is budgeted to make $18.7 million in fiscal 2008, according to unaudited results provided by the system.
While Caritas is not the only healthcare system in the commonwealth facing significant challenges, its failure to partner with another system last year, combined with leadership and operational difficulties, have caused significant concerns about the future of the system, wrote Attorney General Martha Coakley in a statement about the recommendations. Potential buyers backed out of two deals to acquire Caritas Christi last year. In June, St. Louis-based Ascension Health decided against purchasing the system, and, in September, Catholic Health Initiatives in Denver also backed out of a tentative agreement to take over the provider. -- by Shawn Rhea
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