By Adam Chiara and Rosana Garcia
“Strict” — “drove out” — “onerous” — subjective words, yet, this is the language several media outlets have used to describe the Tenet-Waterbury Hospital deal.
With buzz about Tenet possibly coming back to Connecticut to meet with state Senate leaders on returning to the negotiating table, many members of the media have turned what is opinion into historical fact.
Take NBC CT, who was the worst violator of this. In their article, with no attribution, they wrote: “Strict regulations were what killed the deal in the first place.”
Again, it should be stressed there was no attribution attached to that sentence. Meaning, whether intentional or not, NBC CT as deemed the sole reason Tenet walked away was because the state was irrational in the deal-making process.
While Tenet and others may have thought the conditions were too strict, the state Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) and Office of Attorney General (OAG), who set the conditions, and many others who supported the terms, including the Foundation, thought the conditions were justified and fair.
So why did the media get to decide what was considered “too strict” or “onerous?” It is dangerous when those we trust to be an unbiased source of information shape their own narrative of a situation.
Well, it looks like we’ll have to do their job for them — here were the conditions and some background on the deal so you to come to your own conclusions…
While some sources have cited 47 conditions placed on Tenet for the Waterbury transaction, closer examination of the Office of Health Care Access’ (OHCA) Proposed Final Decision and the Office of the Attorney General’s Proposed Final Decision reveals a slightly different story. The number 47 comes from the OHCA document, and some of those 47 items are more legalese and explanation than specific conditions. In fact, the conditions from OHCA fall under eleven broad categories.
One condition is that the “new” Waterbury Hospital under Tenet would have to create and abide by a Community Health Needs Assessment. Waterbury Hospital currently, as a non-profit hospital, maintains a Community Health Needs Assessment as a member of the Greater Waterbury Health Improvement Partnership, under the Affordable Care Act.
Another condition is the creation and support of a Community Advisory Board, with members from the above-mentioned Greater Waterbury Health Improvement Partnership, for seven years.
Connecticut has had one non-profit hospital convert to for-profit–Sharon Hospital. At that time, a foundation was established to protect the charitable assets of the hospital. The Office of the Attorney General’s proposed decision in the Tenet case was primarily about the nuts and bolts of the creation of a similar foundation for the Waterbury Hospital deal.
Other conditions from the Office of Health Care Access deal with other areas (Click here to read the full document):
- An independent monitor to assess Tenet’s compliance with conditions
- Keeping services the same for five years
- Keeping staffing levels the same for five years
- Ensuring quality and safe services
- An articulated plan for the capital commitment Tenet made during the public hearing
- Outline of fiscal data to report to OHCA
- Ensuring the level of charity care remains the same at Waterbury Hospital
- Ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate services are available for all patients
- Requiring an annual town hall meeting with the community
- List of physician recruitment priorities for the next five years
- Information regarding the strategic alliance agreement between Yale-New Haven Health and Tenet Health Care
- Final copies of paperwork
Even more information is available from the Attorney General’s office; click here for all the documents from the conversion review process (including public comment).