By Stephanye R. Clarke
The burning question many of us had from the first hearing continued to loom over the second hearing:
How will the potential joining of the two institutions impact local health outcomes, pricing and access to services?
Part Two of the Certificate of Need hearing (July 26) for Yale New Haven Health System’s (Yale) proposed acquisition of L+M Hospital (L+M) also lasted nearly six hours.
As a reminder, 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 Certificate of Need Task Force.
In addition to the burning question, concerns about local control of the hospital remained high; and these concerns were part of some rather tense cross-examination. It was revealed, under oath, that per the written bylaws of the Certificate of Need application, Yale would be the Sole Corporate Member, with power to approve (or not) local board member selection, as well as decisions regarding access to services and care.
Also revealed under oath was that L+M’s president/CEO and Board of Directors were fully aware of this all along—this was difficult to hear as a community member. It made me think of our hospital, being tied up with a pretty red bow and hand-delivered to a complete stranger with little to no connection/commitment to our community.
After a round of questions for the applicants (Yale & L+M) from OHCA, there was an opportunity for additional public comment. Bill Schmauder, Certified Cardiographic Technician, shared some memories of his experience as a longtime L+M employee and community member. The clip below is a bit lengthy, but worth the watch.
Over the past couple weeks there have been several articles/opinion pieces concerning the proposed action. The local paper has taken a definitive stance on the subject in favor of the acquisition, even to the point of demonizing anyone raising questions about transparency, trust, clarity and commitment of Yale to the L+M service area—our community.
It is my hope that those leaders will pay attention to what is happening across the landscape of the state. There are ways for these proposed actions to go horribly wrong, or to get them right, maximizing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have the hospital be clear in its askings and expectations, while being in tune with and investing in the needs of the community.
I hope someone listened… I’ll be watching.