Steward Health Care files for bankruptcy

Steward Health Care, which once trumpeted its community hospital system as a low-cost alternative to Boston’s medical goliaths before expanding nationally and falling into a deep financial crisis, filed for bankruptcy protection early Monday morning.

Under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code, Steward will become a “debtor in possession,” continuing to operate its 32 hospitals in eight states while it seeks to restructure its debt under court supervision. Steward has eight hospitals in eastern Massachusetts, though its Norwood Hospital remains closed following a flood.

“Steward does not expect any interruptions in its day-to-day operations, which will continue in the ordinary course throughout the [bankruptcy] process,” it said in a news release posted at 3:27 a.m. “Steward’s hospitals, medical centers and physician’s offices are open and continuing to serve patients and the broader community and our commitment to our employees will not change.”

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