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    Coakley requires Steward to maintain Quincy emergency room for one year

    QUINCY, MA - 10/09/2014: Quincy Medical Center AERIAL (David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo) SECTION: METRO TOPIC stand alone photos
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    Quincy Medical Center

    Attorney General Martha Coakley has reached a deal with Steward Health Care System that requires the for-profit hospital operator to keep a temporary emergency room at Quincy Medical Center and other services in Quincy.

    The settlement does not penalize Steward for shuttering its Quincy hospital last month, even though that closure was in violation of a 2011 contract with Coakley’s office.

    Steward kept the emergency room at Quincy Medical Center open even after ending other hospital services the day after Christmas. Coakley said Wednesday that Steward must maintain the emergency room until the end of 2015, or face up to $30,000 a month in fines. It can close the emergency room next year if public health officials determine the facility is not well used.

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    “Given the significant changes in the healthcare marketplace, we believe that the conditions of the agreement are fair and consistent with the goals of maintaining access to high-quality healthcare services in the City of Quincy,” Steward spokeswoman Brooke Thurston said in a statement.

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    The deal requires Steward, until Oct. 1, 2018, to keep primary care and specialty physicians in Quincy, and provide transportation linking patients between the Quincy emergency room and other nearby medical facilities.

    Steward, a private-equity backed hospital chain, has agreed to help displaced employees of Quincy Medical Center through a $16 million plan that includes severance packages and help finding new jobs.

    Boston-based Steward bought Quincy Medical Center out of bankruptcy in 2011, but the 196-bed hospital continued to struggle to attract patients. It failed to become profitable, losing an estimated $20 million last year.

    Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.