Steward Health Care System announced today that it will be closing Quincy Medical Center by the end of the year and transition care to a more sustainable outpatient health care delivery network in Quincy.
However, even though the hospital itself will close by Dec. 31, Steward said it will try to move its 680 employees, 550 of whom are full-time workers, to new positions within the Steward network of medical facilities. Steward owns 10 other hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts including facilities in Brockton, Norwood and Taunton.
On top of them being possibly moved to another hospital, all QMC employees will continue to be paid for the next 60 days and each will be offered comprehensive support services.
“While Quincy Medical Center earns top quality and safety ratings, competition from Boston-area medical centers, significant cuts to Medicare reimbursements, continued Medicaid underfunding, continued rate disparity, and precipitously declining inpatient volume have made QMC unsustainable,” Dr. Mark Girard, president of Steward Hospitals, a for-profit company, said in a statement. “On an average day, only one fifth of all beds are occupied and it has become abundantly clear that local residents no longer seek inpatient services from Quincy Medical Center.”
The new outpatient delivery system will include: a new 24-hour Emergency Department, a separately sited state-of-the-art urgent care center, multi-specialty clinic in Quincy, radiological services including X-Ray, mammography, CT, and ultrasound, as well as a multi-point transportation plan.
With medical costs rising, this shift to outpatient treatment is because insurance companies are putting limits on what they are willing to pay for procedures.
Quincy, with a population of more 90,000 people and growing, hasn’t been without an operational hospital in 124 years.
Within 10 miles of the Quincy Medical Center campus are 15 acute care hospitals, 12 surgery centers, 21 urgent care centers, more than 150 nursing home providers, more than 500 physician offices and 130 outpatient behavioral health sites.
This will be the largest Massachusetts hospital closure in more than a decade. The 124-year-old hospital, only has about 40 patients occupying beds currently.
Why is QMC closing? During the past twenty years, QMC has faced serious financial hardships that had the city and state bailing them out of more than $100 million and ultimately filing for federal bankruptcy.
Since 2011, Steward has invested an additional $100 million in the hospital, but it has operating losses of nearly $20 million a year because the overwhelming majority of patients, especially commercial patients, leave Quincy for inpatient care and those who do use QMC use the hospital primarily for outpatient services.
“After reviewing the data, I believe there is no other option than to close Quincy Medical Center as it exists. Steward is doing the right thing by transitioning the healthcare services that local patients need and use to more accessible outpatient settings and making it as convenient as possible for patients,” said Richard Bane, President of BaneCare.