Warren suggests prison sentences for healthcare ‘corporate greed’

On June 11, 2024, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced legislation aimed at preventing future cases of “corporate greed” in the healthcare industry, citing the recent bankruptcy filing of Steward Health Care as an example. The bill, titled the “Corporate Crimes Against Health Care” bill, includes new penalties and safeguards for healthcare executives who put patient safety and access to care at risk.

Standing outside Steward’s St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Warren highlighted the key provisions of the bill. One significant aspect of the legislation is the introduction of a new criminal penalty that could result in executives facing up to six years in prison if their actions lead to patient harm or death due to looting of healthcare entities like nursing homes and hospitals.

The fallout from Steward’s financial management under CEO Ralph de la Torre has raised concerns among legislators, patients, and healthcare workers. The 2016 sale of the land on which Steward’s Massachusetts hospitals were located has left the system burdened with significant debt, as executives struggled to meet financial obligations to both the landlord, Medical Properties Trust, and vendors.

Warren’s bill proposes granting state attorneys general the authority to recover all compensation paid to private equity executives within a ten-year period, both before and after a healthcare provider experiences financial distress due to looting activities. Additionally, the legislation includes enhanced reporting requirements for healthcare providers that receive federal funding.

As the story continues to develop

By Sophia Gonzalez

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