Profits should not be put above patients’ well-being

Re “Steward is already a force for change” (Page A1, Feb. 3): Although the for-profit Steward Health Care System might be investing in repaved parking lots, nicer waiting areas in their facilities, or other renovations, nobody should discount the significant negative impact on patient well-being of cuts in nurse staffing, stifling demands on physicians to see ever-increasing numbers of patients, or disgruntled employees in general.

The fact that Cerberus, owner of Steward Health Care, has been a major owner of weapons manufacturers blatantly illustrates that it does not care about health per se but instead about generating revenue. The final sentence of the article nicely sums this up when an observer states that the goal of Steward executives “in the end . . . is to make money for their investors.”

Practically speaking, this means whenever there is a choice that Steward needs to make between turning a profit or improving health, one can expect profit to win out every time. Most Americans believe that health care is a right, and subjecting anything that is a right to the whims of the marketplace places our humanity in jeopardy.

Dr. J. Wesley Boyd


The writer is a psychiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.