High Rent Obligations for Hospitals Means Services, Consumers Suffer

By Consumers for Quality Care, on September 13, 2023

High Rent Obligations for Hospitals Means Services, Consumers Suffer

The business practices of Medical Properties Trust (MPT), a real estate investment trust (REIT), demonstrates the caustic influence these business arrangements have on the health care system, The American Prospect reports.

Despite its stock plunging in recent weeks, MPT maintains its grip on more than 400 hospitals and health care facilities, charging them exorbitantly high rents, a cost ultimately borne by consumers.

As a result of high rents, several hospitals within the portfolio have been relegated to using outdated equipment while also struggling to provide high-quality care.

MPT’s largest tenant, Steward Health, up until recently enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with MPT, as both entities were able to benefit financially from each other. Although Steward Health had no problem paying MPT’s high rents, it is accused of not paying other bills from various contractors to the tune of $13 million.

But now, Steward’s bills have caught up with them. One of its hospitals, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts, has been on the verge of closure for a year. In San Antonio, however, another Steward hospital was abruptly shuttered this spring, with its CEO blaming unmanageable “lease obligations.”

Financial strains affecting hospital operations can lead to potential delays in care, reduced service quality, or even hospital closures, and therefore pose significant challenges for patients seeking medical attention within the MPT-owned hospital system.

CQC strongly urges hospital regulators to prioritize patient care in the face of service disruptions, affirming that consumers’ access to quality care and their overall well-being must take precedence over financial returns for profit-seeking investors.