(Updated, July 11, 11 a.m.)
PROVIDENCE – Dr. Prem Reddy, chairman, president and CEO of Prime Healthcare Services of Ontario, Calif., offered the first detailed public overview of his hospital network’s plans for Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket.
In a presentation at a public hearing held on Tuesday by the Health Services Council of the R.I. Department of Health, Reddy provided insights into the corporate vision of his for-profit, privately-held corporation and how Landmark fits within the hospital network’s expansion plans.
Currently, the for-profit Prime Healthcare Services owns 17 hospitals – 10 in California, three in Texas, two in Pennsylvania and two in Kansas. Another four hospitals – two in New Jersey, one in Michigan and Landmark – have signed purchase agreements with the system.
A separate entity, a nonprofit foundation controlled by Reddy and his family, operates five other hospitals – four in California and one in Texas. Four of the hospitals were “donated” by Prime Healthcare Services to the foundation.
The Prime Healthcare motto is “Saving hospitals, saving jobs, saving lives,” and Reddy described the work as his passion. “I don’t travel, I don’t go on vacation, I don’t play golf,” he said.
When asked about the company’s financial resources, Reddy said that his for-profit company generates more than $200 million a year in net income, maintains cash reserves of more than $50 million, and has access to a line of credit of $175 million, with about $125 million available.
Reddy said his company had recently established a new consortium of financial partners and banks to raise an additional $500 million to launch a new round of expansion to purchase more hospitals.
In terms of Landmark, Reddy told the council members that the strategy was to make investments in health IT, replace major imagining equipment, reduce the length of stay for patients, and, as a direct result of the improved quality of care, increase the number of patients in the Woonsocket primary service area. He also said that he wanted to increase reimbursements from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to 150-180 percent of Medicare rates for hospital expenses.
Reddy closed the meeting with a personal spin on Prime Healthcare’s controversy in California regarding billing discrepancies, which he blamed on the Service Employees International Union. The newspaper reports and investigations were unfounded, he said, a result of a vendetta by the union.
Reddy was scheduled to meet Wednesday with Chuck Jones, president and CEO of Thundermist, a community health center in Woonsocket. Reddy said he was prepared to “beg” Jones to reconsider his current arrangement with Women & Infants Hospital that has Thundermist’s maternity patients giving birth there instead of at Landmark.
After the hearing, Jones told Providence Business News: “The only thing better than quality care is quality care delivered locally, so I look forward to talking with Dr. Reddy.” When asked what enticements would make him consider changing his agreement with Women & Infants, Jones said: “We’re always interested in opportunities to bring high-quality care local to our patients. It’s important to them and we respect that.”
Council Chair Victoria Almeida requested more demographic details about the 40,000 patients who are seen each year by the Landmark emergency department, the fourth highest number in the state, wondering if they were being seen because they did not have access to primary care. Richard Charest, president and CEO of Landmark, said that he would provide the council with the additional details.