For Profit, Out-of-State Entity Makes Bid to Get Into CT
By Lynne Ide
Change is in the air for two of the state’s nonprofit, community hospitals in Manchester and Rockville. The hospitals, now part of the Eastern CT Health Network (ECHN), are set to be sold to Prospect Medical Holdings — an out-of-state, for profit corporation.
The questions we should be asking are: Do we really want our community hospitals being gobbled up by entities that are answerable to a stockholder-driven bottom line? Should our local hospitals be controlled by corporate boards that have no connection to the communities served by the hospitals?
Do people in the Manchester and Rockville area know to be asking this and pushing for community benefit agreements, and protecting an important local asset?
My guess is: No.
The two deals must be approved by the state’s oversight agency, the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) via a Certificate of Need (CON) hearing. The CON hearings tend to be very technical in nature, geared toward the legal counsel and corporate representatives of the applicants.
The public can attend and sign up to testify at the hearings.
Two CON hearings for the sale of ECHN’s Manchester Memorial Hospital & Rockville General Hospital to Prospect Medical Holdings are scheduled:
March 29, at 2 p.m., at Manchester Country Club, 305 South Main Street, Manchester.
March 30, at 2 p.m., at Elks Lodge, 9 North Street, Vernon.
OHCA has the power to deny an application or put conditions on a deal, if approved. There is a lot at stake.
The public can weigh in, but the whole process is not very consumer-friendly.
How many people can attend a hearing mid-day on a weekday? And not many everyday people even know that a CON hearing is happening. It seems that the public is really an afterthought.
Someone should be looking out for people who use these hospitals, as well as local taxpayers.
Will Prospect Medical Holdings pay local property taxes since they are a for profit? That would be a nice boon for Manchester and Rockville. Prospect Medical Holdings has already said they don’t think they should have to pay property taxes.
Will the two local community hospital boards be disbanded, or relegated to “advisory” status – giving decision-making to an out-of-state, corporate entity?
Will Prospect Medical Holdings suck out all the profit they can and then close down Rockville or Manchester – or both?
Let’s hope someone goes to the hearings and speaks up for the everyday people.
The last thing our state needs is another version of what happened to Windham Hospital when it was taken over by Hartford HealthCare.