Officials prepared to go to court to protect services at Memorial

Officials prepared to go to court to protect services at Memorial

PAWTUCKET – Before Memorial Hospital submitted its application for closure to the Rhode Island Department of Health last week, state and local officials had requested that the hospital first submit a concrete plan for services, operations and staff that will remain, as well as a re-use option for the facility.

The leaders are asking that the written proposal be submitted no later than Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and Gov. Gina Raimondo made the joint request to James Fanale, chief operating officer and chief clinical officer at Care New England, regarding the future of the Memorial Hospital campus on Brewster Street.

“It is our intent to do what is necessary to protect the health and welfare of our residents, to assist those who are losing their jobs after committing themselves to helping others at Memorial Hospital, and to provide for the economic well-being of our cities,” wrote Grebien in a letter to the City Council.

To do that, he said, officials need the most up-to-date information about CNE’s plans for the hospital, which is what they’re seeking through their request.

“If not, we’re prepared to take action in the courts to bring in outside experts to assist us in this effort,” he wrote.

In their letter to Fanale, local and state officials said they expect the written proposal from CNE to “identify which specific services will remain at the Pawtucket Memorial campus, how those services will be operated and capitalized, the number of doctors, nurses and other personnel that will be committed by CNE to operate these services, and the duration of CNE’s commitment.”

“We would also like to understand any potential re-use for the Pawtucket Memorial Hospital facility itself,” wrote Grebian, Diossa and Raimondo.

If the proposal is not submitted by the Nov. 14 date, local leaders intend to file a petition with the Rhode Island Superior Court to appoint an examiner or other court-appointed fiduciary who will be charged with the responsibility, among other things:

• To examine the best prospective use for the hospital facility and its associated campus from health care and economic perspectives.

• To identify potential partners other than CNE that would be willing to use the hospital and campus in a way that would continue to benefit the health and economy of Pawtucket and Central Falls.

• And to file a report with the court within a defined period of time announcing results and recommendations.

Jim Beardsworth, spokesman for CNE, told The Breeze Monday, “We look forward to continuing to work with both city and state officials as we move ahead on this most important matter.”

Memorial last Thursday submitted its application for closure to the Rhode Island Department of Health as required by the state Hospital Conversions Act. The filing advises the Department of Health that Memorial plans to cease operations as a licensed inpatient hospital and requests the approval of the director for the elimination of the emergency department and certain other services.

Following the closure of the hospital, Care New England “currently intends” to provide certain community-based primary and specialty care services in Pawtucket, stated a release from CNE. Specific to impacted employees of Memorial, CNE is working to implement a transition plan that would help find placement jobs where possible.

“Today’s submission to the Department of Health represents a required and critically important step in the process Care New England carefully outlined recently,” said Fanale. “While we move forward with this difficult, yet necessary decision, we do so with compassion for those affected and the utmost respect for the legacy of care and community that Memorial has stood for throughout its history, while striving to ensure access to care throughout the service area.”

According to the application, “At 9.3 percent occupancy, Memorial’s daily census has been significantly below capacity and below what is required to be financially viable. Due to service readiness, staffing, and operational requirements to meet licensure conditions, Memorial loses approximately $2 million per month.

“Given such under-utilization and unsustainable chronic financial losses, Memorial cannot continue to adequately staff and deliver patient care services in a clinically safe and financially viable manner and intends to cease all operations as soon as possible,” it states.

CNE appreciates ongoing efforts of Raimondo and community leaders “to secure commitments from other health system leaders to assist Memorial Hospital employees to find suitable employment following the closure of Memorial,” stated the release.

On the issue of ongoing access to care for the community, the application details a range of medical facilities available immediately within the existing service area and just a few miles from the hospital.

The application also highlights that Memorial and CNE leadership “… have had meetings with representatives of several hospitals and community health centers … and each has indicated the capacity and willingness to accept patients and provide services for patients transitioning from Memorial.”

CNE executives say they want to convene a forum to identify and address the need for community-based services after the closure.

“As was stated recently when the plan to close Memorial was first announced, the impetus for the changes include the chronic financial losses being incurred at Memorial, continuing a nearly 10-year slide, resulting in an operating loss in the past fiscal year of $23 million,” they said.

Comments

Now that Memorial is going belly up, whats going to happen to all the former employees
that are on pensions. No one is talking about them. Does anyone know if the pension will continue. This could and would be devastating for them. I bet they are not sleeping nights.

Speaking to many employees of the hospital; they say the governor was to try to place these employees. Well, so far she haven't done a thing.
I would love to know why Prime plane fell through.
One employee was offered a job at Women & Infants: 11 hours per week. How can you live on 11 hour pay.