A court filing this week indicates that Steward Health Care System plans to walk away from a deal to buy a struggling hospital in Rhode Island after a nearly 16-month courtship that required lawmakers to amend the state's hospital conversions law.
The deal to acquire the 133-bed Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket would have been Steward's first acquisition outside of Massachusetts, where the for-profit health system has snapped up six community hospitals since 2010. Landmark has been in receivership since 2008.
On Sept. 25, Landmark's court-appointed Special Master Jonathan Savage filed a response to a motion (PDF) regarding a hospital licensing fee.
“In view of the apparent withdrawal of Steward Healthcare as the purchaser of the hospital's assets, it is essential that the special master have additional time to negotiate a sale to another prospective purchaser,” Savage wrote. “Requiring immediate payment of the license tax will surely foreclose that possibility.”
A spokesman for Savage said Steward has not formally withdrawn its bid. However, the spokesman said the special master has developed a contingency plan and has held discussions with other healthcare entities as the deal's deadline approaches. The deadline is Sept. 30.