Hospitals Call on Governor After Sale Falls Through

A hospital set to be sold to a Texas-based health care company is calling on Gov. Dannel Malloy for his help to bring back a deal that's on life support.

Tenet Healthcare had been in negotiations with the state and five hospitals over the past two years to purchase them and transfer state licenses to the company.

Last week, the company told investors it was ending talks with the state after proposed regulations were unveiled.

The company released a statement that reads, in part:

"The extensive list of proposed conditions to be imposed on the Waterbury Hospital transaction, which is only the first of four transactions for which we’ve made applications, has led us to conclude that the approach to regulatory oversight in Connecticut would not enable Tenet to operate the hospitals successfully for the benefit of all stakeholders."

State Sen. Martin Looney, the soon-to-be top ranking member of the Connecticut Senate, supported regulations that included limits on staff reductions and other restrictions relating to licensing.

"I think we have a responsibility to do diligence whenever there is a conversion or a proposed conversion and if it didn’t meet Tenet’s conditions, that’s a judgment for them to make but the state of Connecticut has its own responsibilities as well," Looney said.

Darlene Stromstad, CEO of Waterbury Hospital, said the requirements were onerous at best.

“Can’t change staff. Can’t change hours of operation. I couldn’t change the hours of operation from 7:30 to 8 a.m. in an outpatient lab without getting state approval. That’s ludicrous,” Stromstad said.

Both Looney and hospital executives agree that the healthcare landscape in Connecticut is changing, especially with more hospitals moving from what is known as a "fee-for-service model" to an outcome, or value based model.

“Hospitals like us aren’t going to survive longterm alone" said Stromstad. "All across the country you’re seeing independent, small community hospitals, just like Waterbury hospital seeking affiliations, mergers or partnerships with larger companies.”

Malloy's administration declined to comment on the call from Stromstad to involve himself in negotiations. The governor has said in the past that he supports a prosperous Waterbury Hospital.

Stromstad is urging him to take action.

“Bring them together, reach out, call Tenet, say Tenet come back. Let’s find a way that you can run happy healthy businesses in Connecticut," she said.

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