Recommended Articles from Ralph de la Torre, MD
Boston Business Journal:
“Steward CEO: Medicaid is 'bad medicine' for Massachusetts"
Dr. Ralph de la Torre, Chairman and CEO of Steward Health Care System, joined Andrew Dreyfus, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Todd Gershkowitz, Head of Global Total Rewards and Human Resources at State Street Corporation, in a panel discussion at the Boston Business Journal’s Future of Health event on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. Click here to read more.
The Boston Globe:
“Give Steward a chance to show what it can do"
Today, the Massachusetts Medicaid program (MassHealth) continues to pay primarily for the quantity of care provided (fee for service) rather than for the delivery of quality care services. Many local providers, business leaders and labor union leaders have advocated for several years for MassHealth to implement an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) pilot program. The Boston Globe editorial board thinks now is the time to act. Click here to read more.
The Boston Globe:
“Steward reaches deal with Doctors Express”
Steward Health Care has struck an agreement with AFC Doctors Express, the region’s largest urgent care provider, will allow patients of Steward’s hospitals to be treated from common illnesses or injuries at local Doctors Express walk-in centers. The deal will initially be small in scope. Steward patients will have access to nine Doctors Express clinics, from Braintree to North Andover, growing over time to include 15 more Doctors Express clinics. Doctors Express physicians will have electronic access to Steward patient records; Steward will also assign some of its doctors to work with the 45 physicians at the nine walk-in centers.
Boston-based Steward owns 10 community hospitals in the region, it estimates 20 percent of the visits to its emergency rooms can be easily handled and at a smaller cost in urgent care centers. “Our model is providing care at the right site,” Steward CEO Ralph de la Torre said in an interview. “Wherever we see the opportunity to move care to a lower-cost setting, we’ll do it. We need to get some of these visits out of emergency rooms and into urgent care centers, which are far more convenient and a less stressful environment for patients.” Doctors Express, based in Birmingham, Alabama, has 142 locations in 26 states. The company opened its first Boston area clinic over two years ago. Read the entire article of the deal between Steward Health Care System and Doctors Express here.
The Boston Business Journal:
“Dana-Farber, Steward Health Care in St. Elizabeth’s cancer center deal”
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the renowned cancer center, and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center have struck a new deal that would allow patients of St. Elizabeth’s with cancer to be treated at Dana-Farber. The agreement establishes St. Elizabeth’s as the cancer care hub of the Steward network, the St. Elizabeth’s for-profit parent company, and patients from Steward’s other hospitals will also have access to the Dana-Farber satellite there.
The partnership will likely allow Steward to keep more patients within its network. Electronic medical records will be shared between St. Elizabeth’s and Dana-Farber, while St. Elizabeth’s will be providing imaging, radiation oncology and surgical services to the patients being treated at the Dana-Farber satellite. “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Dana-Farber on our campus,” Kevin Hannifan, president of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center said in a statement. You can find out more about the partnership between Dana-Farber and St. Elizabeth’s here.
“Prescription for Change”
America’s hospitals are among the most expensive in the world and are part of the world’s most expensive health system. However, they are in the midst of drastic changes, much due to the “Obamacare” Health reforms. The most visible change that has been seen so far is that big hospital companies are only getting bigger. Among the recent mergers and takeovers, others are taking it one step further and turning the industry’s business model on its head. For example, Steward Health Care Systems is triple to drive patients out of its hospitals and into less expensive walk-in clinics.
Doctors receive a fee for each treatment and typically patients don’t know the price of a treatment until after they have received it, so there is very little incentive to keep patients well. This dysfunctional system welcomes millions of new patients every year, but hospitals are facing mounting pressure to change. Steward Health Care, which is only three years old, seems to be ambitious in embracing change. Steward doesn’t aspire to have the best hospitals in America, instead it wants to offer, convenient, reasonably priced care. Steward has contracted with private insurers that reward it for keep patients well as opposed to paying for the amount of treatments. Steward is taking additional steps to ensure that patients do not suffer from expensive relapses. Read more about the new era of hospitals and health care reform here.
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“Steward hires away top surgeon from Mass. General”
Steward Health Care recently hired leading heart surgeon of Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Arvind Agnihotri, to oversee cardiac surgery at Steward’s largest hospital, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton. This is part of the for-profit hospital company’s strategy to help win back patients who are leaving its system for routine surgical care at major Boston teaching hospitals. Agnihotri’s hiring may allow St. Elizabeth’s, which performs about 280 heart operations annually, to double its caseload.
Retaining primary care patients is crucial to Steward’s strategy of providing high quality care at a cheaper price than its competitors. The chief executive of Steward’s 11-hospital system, Dr. Ralph de la Torre, who is a former heart surgeon with longtime relationships in Boston, making him adept at recruiting doctors. De la Torre and Agnihotri trained together as heart surgeons at Mass. General in the late 1990s. Aside from recruiting a half-dozen surgeons, Steward is currently upgrading its surgery facilities at St. Elizabeth’s. Click here to find out more about Dr. Arvind Agnihotri joining Steward Health Care.
The New Yorker:
Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health researcher, writes an article that focuses on the ever-changing geography of America’s health care industry. Gawande profiles Steward Health Care System and how hospitals are slowing turning into conglomerates rather than stand alone practices that made up the vast majority of physicians practices and hospitals just over a decade ago. Cerberus, the private-investment firm, bought the group of six failing Catholic hospitals in the Boston area in late 2010 and Steward was launched. Gawande compares Steward as the Cheesecake Factory of the health care industry.
Steward has acquired four more Massachusetts hospitals in the past year and has made an offer to acquire six more financially struggling hospitals in Florida. Steward’s massive growth has made many local doctors nervous. Steward is at the forefront of reinventing medical care and the industry as a whole. Gawande goes on to question how soon this sort of quality and cost control that Steward offers will be available to patients everywhere across the country. Read the full article here about the health care revolution and Steward Health Care leading the charge.
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Dr. Ralph de la Torre is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Steward Health Care System LLC, New England's largest fully integrated community care organization with eleven hospitals, 17,000 employees and other affiliates, including a home health care company, a nursing college and an imaging company. He has founded several health care-related businesses and has numerous issued or pending patents. He was recently voted one of the 25 most powerful physician executives in the United States by Modern Healthcare magazine. Dr. de la Torre graduated from Duke University in 1988 (BSE), where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi, and from a joint program between Harvard Medical School (MD) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS) in 1992.