Steward boosts staff at 2 hospitals

WARREN — Less than six months into its ownership of several area hospitals, Steward Health Care has increased its workforce and is implementing technology that company leaders say will allow them to provide enhanced services to the community.

“Our goal is to keep people as healthy and as well as they can possibly be,” said Dr. Mark Girard, president, Steward Health Care Network. “And then, if they become ill, provide the best care possible.”

Earlier this year, Boston-based Steward purchased eight hospitals from Community Health Systems, including Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland and Northside Medical Center in Youngstown, all part of ValleyCare Health System of Ohio.

Sharon Regional Health System in Sharon, Pa., was also included in the transaction.

Ron Bierman, who was named TMH president not long after the acquisition, said his hospital has added 105 full- and part-time employees. Also, since the sale was completed May 1, 75 physicians have joined the health care system’s network.

Staffing also has been bumped up at Northside, where 37 full-time workers have been added.

Girard said although Steward is a “big and growing company,” its goal is for each of its facilities “to act like a local company” in the communities it serves.

Founded in 2010, Steward Health Care is a physician-led health care services organization and the largest private hospital operator in the United States, according to its website.

Company leaders say the system uses technology, innovation and care coordination designed to keep patients healthier. Girard and Bierman each said a large part of the focus is on preventive health care.

Steward operates 36 community hospitals in 10 states that employ approximately 37,000 people. The Steward network includes more than 26 urgent care centers, 42 preferred skilled nursing facilities and behavioral health services.

Steward is also focusing its efforts on implementing an advanced electronic health record system that coordinates services by connecting all points of a patient’s care among facilities. Training on the multimillion dollar system already has started among caregivers and the technology is expected to go live at Steward’s local facilities next summer.