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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – The sale of Westerly Hospital for $69 million to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital of New London, Conn., was approved today by state regulators, the first such hospital sale approved under the expedited review process of the revised Hospital Conversions Act.
The closing of the sale will now occur before June 1, according to the 43-page approval document from the R.I. Attorney General’s office.
Under the agreement, Westerly Hospital will close down its maternity services and cease deliveries as of June 1, under a finding approved by the director of the R.I. Department of Health on April 15.
“All parties recognize the critically important role Westerly Hospital plays in providing quality health care to the residents of the area and as an important economic engine for the region,” said R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.
In its conclusion, the agreement discussed the changing landscape of health care delivery in Rhode Island, noting that the Westerly Hospital sale was but one of four proposed hospital transactions that state regulators may be required to conduct reviews on in the coming months.
“It is clear that the landscape of hospitals in Rhode Island is changing,” the agreement said. “With the trend toward pushing care to settings other than hospitals, Rhode Island hospitals by necessity will have to adapt. The instant flurry of hospital conversions is only one way in which health care will change in the future for the people [of Rhode Island]. Hopefully, these changes taken together will result in better health care for all Rhode Islanders and the continued success of our hospitals.”