abandonment could be life threatening. Cerberus’ need to produceinvestment returns raises real concerns about the potential for its financialsuccess to come at a great cost to Massachusetts’ healthcare system.Specifically, we ask you to require Cerberus to provide a detailed businessplan for public comment and analysis and to provide the public a forum toprovide feedback. The public must have the opportunity to examineCerberus’ business plan and how it will spend its proposed $400+ million of capital investment. Without this vital information about Cerberus’ financialand operational plans, interested citizens, community groups, and electedofficials are unable to form or ask pertinent questions about this deal andhave no basis on which to truly evaluate if the transaction is indeed in thepublic interest.Secondly, we ask you to ensure a deliberative and transparent process isfollowed. The six community hearings held in rapid fire succession in Juneand July of this year provided limited opportunities for true engagementbetween the community and the proponents.
Given the stakes for theCommonwealth and its citizens, we are concerned about the rush to approve such acomplicated transaction
. Community-based groups have articulated a set of issues and concerns that they would like addressed to protect and enhancethe health care services that these community hospitals provide. Othertransactions involving the sale and conversion of single non-profit to for-profit hospitals, both in Massachusetts and in other states, have beenevaluated and approved on a much more extended timeframe.Our understanding from our involvement with similar sales in the past andfrom conversations with staff from the Determination of Need Program isthat individual communities are expected to broker agreements with Caritasand Cerberus/Steward to create a list of enforceable conditions that willattach to any DON licenses granted to Steward. Caritas has been preparingfor the deal for years-and Cerberus for numerous months-while communitieswere only recently brought into the process. If the responsibility forbrokering a deal is to fall to individual communities throughout the state,more time is needed to craft DON licensing conditions that will protect publichealth, consumers, and satisfy the array of stakeholders. The proposed sale would remove the Caritas hospitals from publicownership, potentially impacting access to essential health services for ourstate’s poorest residents while having far reaching implications for the futureof Massachusetts’ healthcare system. Patients, community organizations,