By Stephanye R. Clarke
How will the potential joining of the two institutions impact local health outcomes, pricing and access to services?
Part One of the Certificate of Need hearing for Yale New Haven Health System’s (Yale) proposed acquisition of L+M Hospital (L+M) lasted nearly six hours.
The Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) deemed Yale & L+M’s application complete on May 10, despite Governor Malloy’s Executive Order to delay similar decisions until at least January 2017, pending review of the current process and recommendations from the newly-formed Task Force.
According to one article, the number of people providing public comment Monday evening in favor of the merger was nearly equal to the number of people who expressed reservations about the application. Public comment lasted nearly four hours, after which both the Applicants and Intervenors presented their cases.
As one of the community members providing public comment, I focused my statement on transparency and the need to make sure that the current Community Health Needs Assessment draft report and Health Improvement Plan being developed are focal areas for investing in a healthier southeastern Connecticut.
Under the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals must conduct community health needs assessments every three years. Over the past year, L+M Hospital and Ledge Light Health District formed a collaborative of community partners to work on data collection, issue prioritization and health improvement planning and strategy implementation.
In my statement, I urged hospital management to refrain from creating a strategic plan behind closed doors and instead respond to the needs of the community by making this plan the cornerstone of their community benefit. As a demonstration of their commitment to improving community health, the plan also needs to be well- resourced and legally-enforceable commitment to improving community health.
I hope someone listened… I’ll be watching.
The hearing has been continued to 3:00 p.m, Tuesday, July 26 at the Holiday Inn New London. If you live in the L+M service area and are concerned about this proposal, I strongly encourage you to attend the hearing.