It's been widely reported lately that Steward Health Care may be on the brink of a collapse. This would not only be disastrous for St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River, Morton Hospital in Taunton and Hawthorn Medical Associates in Dartmouth, among other locations, but it could create a medical care shortage across the SouthCoast.

It's gotten so bad that Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healy scolded the company for not properly disclosing audited financial statements. The governor's letter accused Steward of lying and threatened to boot it out of the Commonwealth.

You would think that when a company's back is against the wall to that level, one of the most important functions would be to ensure a clear and easy path to have money come into the organization. How can a system pay its bills if it doesn't have a simple way for patients to pay for their services?

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It's been at least two weeks since I tried to pay my Steward Health Care bill. I repeatedly tried logging onto the website that is listed on the billing statement. The website doesn't exist. It doesn't load and gets hung up on a blank screen.

I've also repeatedly tried to pay my bill using the phone number listed on the billing statement. Patients could call the number and use a credit card to pay by phone. The only problem is that phone number doesn't work. The voicemail indicates that the "system is down" and can't accept credit card payments over the phone at this time.

Again, this has been the status for weeks.

READ MORE: Southcoast Health Has 'Strong Interest' in Buying St. Anne's From Steward

I called the Hawthorn billing department and spoke to an extremely nice woman who confirmed that she couldn't help either. While she had admin access to facilitate a payment like this, the system was also down for her. She was sympathetic and was appropriately frustrated. She said she's been fielding calls like mine for weeks.

I had two options: find my checkbook (I'm not sure if I still have one) and mail in a payment using snail mail, or just wait.

On Friday, SouthCoast Health announced it has "strong interest" in buying St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River.

I guess I should be careful what I wish for. It probably won't be too long before someone's chasing me down to pay those medical bills.

For what it's worth, we attempted to reach out the Steward Medical's Media Contact listed on their website.  We tried dialing the number listed, but it's not in service.  You can't make this stuff up.

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