Mayor hopes company buying local hospitals will invest in community

ValleyCare and its parent firm, Community Health Systems, are selling hospitals in Youngstown, Warren, and Sharon to Steward Health Care

Sharon Regional Health System

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown’s mayor is hoping the company planning to buy four area hospitals will be involved in the community and help the facilities grow.

Physicians, staff, and others with Northside Medical Center in Youngstown, Trumbull Memorial and Hillside hospitals in Warren, and Sharon Regional Hospital spent the day Friday hearing from an executive of Steward Health Care.

The financially-struggling ValleyCare and its Tennessee-based parent firm, Community Health Systems, are selling the four hospitals to the Massachusetts-based company.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally said he first heard about the purchase late Thursday.

“We’d like to see Northside continue to operate, we’d like to see Northside get stronger. They certainly have a dedicated workforce there,” he said.

ValleyCare and Community Health Systems took over Youngstown and Warren hospitals almost ten years ago at about the same time Steward Health acquired the Caritas Christi Health System in Massachusetts.

“From what we’ve experienced, they have only enhanced the experience of both the volunteers…the patients and the community,” said Chris Cooney, president and CEO of Metro South Chamber in the Boston suburb of Brockton.

Ten of Steward Health’s hospitals are located in Brockton, Massachusetts, including Good Samaritan Medical Center. Cooney said Steward Health invested millions in modernizing the hospital’s existing facilities as well as offering expanded services that hadn’t been available before.

Cooney said the company is well-invested in the community.

“They don’t just contribute in terms of dollars. They spend time in the community and are representative in most all of the community organizations within the region.”

Locally, Mayor McNally said that would be a welcome change.

“When they get here, I hope they have a stronger presence than CHS did. CHS was a Nashville-based company. Quite frankly, I thought most of the decisions were being made out of Nashville and there wasn’t much interaction between their higher-ups in our community.”

McNally said he has not yet been able to speak with anyone from Steward Health about the purchase, which is expected to close in about two months. He’s hoping to arrange a conference call with administrators early next week.

In the meantime, no purchase price for the local hospitals has been released. CHS is expected to use proceeds from the sale to pay down its debts.


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