Steward Health facing lawsuits alleging unpaid bills at Trumbull Regional Hospital
A pair of lawsuits filed in Trumbull County allege that Steward Health has failed to pay for goods and services at Trumbull Regional Hospital.
In one suit filed on January 3, Niles-based Penn Care Inc. is seeking $67,940.18 for the cost of goods and services they say they've provided but not been paid for since October of 2021. While the specific goods and services are not specified in the suit, a statement marked as Exhibit A lists four pages of invoice numbers that are marked as being between 91 and 120 days past due.
Penn Care, Inc. is described on its website as a "small but mighty" team of less than 50 employees who provide EMS supplies, ambulance sales, EKG monitors, and disaster response equipment.
In the other suit, filed on December 28, Niles-based Becdel Controls, Inc. accuses Steward Health and MPT of Warren Steward, LLC of failing to pay for $61,674.31 in electrical work done at Trumbull Regional Hospital in 2023 after agreeing to the price in December of 2022.
Becdel is described on its website as providing electrical work for residential, commercial and industrial customers.
The suits come at a time when Steward Health is facing mounting financial struggles nationally, with Medical Properties Trust demanding payment of $50 million in unpaid rent at several of the company's locations around the country.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the company lost more than $800 million between 2017 and 2020 and is working on an action plan that could see them selling some hospitals. Locations for any hospitals that could be impacted have not been announced.
21 News has reached out to Steward Health for any statement on the Trumbull lawsuits but has not received a response.
However, in a statement last week responding to an inquiry about the company's local hospitals, Trumbull Regional, Sharon Regional, and Hillside Memorial, a Steward spokesperson said:
“Steward Health Care is one of many health systems challenged by the once acute and long-tail impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether record-breaking losses, significant downsizings or facility closures, the past few years have devasted many community hospitals.
Steward has been challenged by a payor-mix system-wide that is over 70% Medicare and Medicaid, that does not cover the cost of care. Over the past decade-plus, there has been a widening gap in reimbursement for all the state’s community hospitals compared to larger, academic medical centers. This gap has only continued to increase, and most community hospitals are suffering losses.
Steward has been an advocate for community hospitals to enlist support in rectifying this reimbursement disparity so we can collectively continue to serve underserved communities. We continue to work closely with state and local legislators on this important issue.
While we are pursuing inequities and our aggressive advocacy for fairer reimbursements, Steward is advancing an action plan to strengthen its liquidity, restore its balance sheet and put the tools necessary in place to continue forward as a key provider of healthcare services to our patients, communities, physicians, and employees. Our physicians will continue to deliver excellent care to our patients.
Trumbull Regional Medical Center, Sharon Regional Medical Center, and Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital remain committed to our patients and the communities we serve.”