The long-anticipated bankruptcy of a company that operates three Valley hospitals finally happened on Monday.

The Dallas-based Steward Health Care announced in a news release on Monday that it has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Steward operates Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland, and Sharon Regional Hospital in Mercer County.

The largest physician-led hospital operator in the United States announced that it has started an in-court restructuring process, as it works to work out the terms of debtor-in-possession financing from Medical Properties Trust for an initial funding of $75 million and up to an additional $225 million.

The filing says Steward has assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion with more than 100,000.

Steward says in the news release that the filing will allow it to continue to care for patients without disruption and does not expect any interruptions in its day-to-day operations.

Steward says its hospitals, medical centers, and physician’s offices are open and continuing to serve patients and the community and its commitment to employees will not change.

“With the additional financing in this process, we are confident that we will keep hospitals open, supplied, and operating so that our care of our patients and our employees is maintained,” said Dr. Ralph de la Torre, Chief Executive Officer of Steward.

Earlier this year, Medical Properties Trust announced that Steward was $50 million behind on rent payments after making only partial payments for its U.S. facilities.

Since then, Steward has told Medical Properties that it hopes to increase rent payments with the help of $150 million in loans recently announced.

Steward also blames the bankruptcy on what it says is insufficient government reimbursements coupled with “skyrocketing labor costs, increased material and operational costs due to inflation, and the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The three Steward Health Care hospitals in the Valley are worth $116 million, according to Medical Properties Trust.

An Annual Report by Medical Properties states that since the land and building were acquired in 2017, Medical Properties has made nearly $10.5 million in improvements at Trumbull Regional Medical Center in Warren, bringing the total value of the property to $63,465,000.

Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland is valued at $29,022,000 following $1.7 million spent on improvements since Medical Properties purchased the property nearly seven years ago.

After investments of $8.5 million for improvements, Medical Properties claims the value of Sharon Regional Medical Center is currently $23,758,000.

As the top tenant of Medical Properties Trust, Steward Health’s facilities across the country are valued at a total of $3.5 billion,

With the bankruptcy it is possible Steward will sell some of it's hospitals. 

“Sharon Regional Medical Center has provided exceptional health care services to Sharon and the region for over 125 years. The filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization will allow this vital hospital to continue to operate and strengthen its services while being marketed for sale.  The City of Sharon will continue to work closely with current administration and looks forward to supporting potential buyers,” Sharon's City Manager Bob Fiscus said in a statement to 21 News when we asked how the bankruptcy will affect the city.

This news has caused concern with some nurses, including those within Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland.

In a statement from the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA), Hillside Registered Nurses Association Chair De Anna Fuchilla, Fuchilla says while this development is challenging, Hillside's nurses will remain committed to its patients.

"Our community relies on Hillside for essential healthcare services and we are committed to ensuring continued access to the care they require," Fuchilla said.

According to the release from ONA, the nurses at Hillside signed a three-year contract with the hospital back in December of 2023. ONA President and Executive Director Rick Lucas says ONA will do all it can to keep these services within the community and uphold the terms of the agreement.

"Our dedicated nurses work diligently to deliver high-quality care, improving patients lives as they journey toward recovery. The loss of Northside Hospital in 2018 underscores the urgent need for collective action," Lucas said.

Lucas went on to call for local leaders and elected officials to stand with ONA in supporting its nurses and their patients by preventing further closures and preserving these services for the communities well being.

Stay connected with 21 News and for more on this developing story.