Rather quaint-looking Rockville General Hospital, in Vernon, Conn.
Eastern Connecticut Health Network, the nonprofit that runs Connecticut’s Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals, says that increasing taxes, debt and regulations are drowning it.
“I can’t express enough the dire situation we are in,” Eastern Connecticut Health Network President and CEO Peter J. Karl told state hearing officers.
But Los Angeles-based Prospect Medical Holdings has proposed to buy ECHN’s assets for $105 million. The state Office of Health Care Access and the attorney general’s office will decide whether to approve the proposed sale in June. ECHN leaders voted for the sale last year as a way to survive as a community healthcare provider.
The Hartford Courant noted that Prospect owns hospitals in California, Texas and Rhode Island and seeks to buy the eastern Connecticut hospitals and Waterbury Hospital, in the south-central part of the Nutmeg State. Those same hospitals and two others had agreed to merge with Texas-based Tenet Healthcare but the deal fell apart in 2014 after Tenet rejected state regulators’ proposed conditions.
Richard Asinof, writing for ConvergenceRI, discusses the redefinition of risk as lines blur between hospitals and insurers in Rhode Island and elsewhere.
He notes such developments as “new Tufts Health Plan partnership with Lifespan to offer a tiered network health plan, known as Lifespan Premier Choice, beginning July 1, where the lowest-priced tier would all be providers within the Lifespan hospital system.”
And “CharterCARE Health Partners, the for-profit joint venture with California-based Prospect Medical Holdings and anchored by Roger Williams Medical Center and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, is apparently recruiting physician groups in Rhode Island to join in a similar kind of narrow care network….”
Mr. Asinof notes that “the larger question, yet unanswered, pertains to how ‘health’ is defined within the healthcare delivery system and a continuum of care. Is health the absence of sickness as defined by the need for care? Is health defined by social and economic determinants beyond the measurement of the healthcare delivery system?
“As insurers become linked to hospital systems, and as hospital systems become their own insurance networks, and as the risk in the market is redefined as a doctor’s responsibility, how does the consumer play? What is the patient’s voice – other than to fill out a patient satisfaction survey? How do nurses – who hold up more than half the healthcare delivery system – get to play and be rewarded in the new value-based care reward system?”