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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Care New England and Memorial Hospital submitted applications for their new partnership agreement with the R.I. Department of Health, the R.I. Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission on Feb. 12.
The two entities have asked for state regulators to review the application under the 90-day expedited review process under the state’s Hospital Conversions Act for financially distressed hospitals, saying Memorial Hospital meets the criteria.
The new partnership will help prepare both institutions for the new health care environment, according to Dennis D. Keefe, president and CEO of Care New England.
“Health care reform will move the focus from hospital-based, episodic care to population wellness,” said Keefe. “The goals of this proposed affiliation are to elevate the overall health of the community, improve the individual patient experience, and bring down the cost of care.”
Under the proposed partnership agreement, changes are to be expected in the way that health care delivery is configured, according to Arthur DeBlois, III, interim president and CEO at Memorial Hospital.
“There may be different configurations and new settings for some programs,” DeBlois said. “This is inevitable as we work to improve perform these efforts will be undertaken with an eye toward freeing resources to offer the best possible care to our community.”
Among the benefits cited by DeBlois and Keefe that will be achieved by the new alliance include:
The next step in the process will be for state regulators to determine if the application is complete, according to Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for the R.I. Attorney General’s office.
Currently, in addition to the Care New England and Memorial state regulatory review, there are two other such reviews in different stages, according to Kempe. An expedited review of the proposed purchase of Westerly Hospital by Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn., is now underway, with a decision due at the end of April.
The proposed sale of Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket to Prime Healthcare Services of Ontario, Calif., is also in process. The application was deemed incomplete, and state regulators have asked for additional information by March 15. Once the application is deemed complete, state regulators will have 120 days to make a decision on the sale.