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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – A new version of legislation to amend the Hospital Conversions Act will be brought before the Senate House and Human Services for a hearing on Wednesday afternoon. It includes a key provision sought by Steward Health Care – removal of the current three-year ban on a for-profit hospital from acquiring another nonprofit hospital.
Steward’s purchase application for Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket is currently under review by state regulations. Legislative action to enable Steward to purchase additional nonprofit hospitals within the Rhode Island market without having to wait three years was made a condition of the asset purchase agreement on March 9 by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Silverstein.
Under the proposed bill, another amendment would put in place an expedited review process, not to exceed 90 days from application, for purchase of financially distressed hospitals. The criteria for financially distressed was defined in the bill as meeting some or all of the following:
In addition, the bill contains a list of conditions that can be added by the director of the R.I. Department of Health or the state Attorney General as contingencies for approval of any nonprofit hospital conversion. They include:
A version of the amended legislation is available here: rilin.state.ri.us.