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Another snag for Landmark: updated

November 15, 2011

Writing about Landmark Medical Center reminds me of the spring, when every other post was about the financially troubled hospital in Woonsocket. Well, Landmark is back in the news again, despite the lack of leaves on the trees.

As you may remember, after a long attempt to find a buyer, Landmark signed a deal with Steward Health Care System– a hospital chain in Massachusetts formerly known as Caritas Christi.

But that wasn’t the end for Landmark. For the sale to be complete, the two entities need to gain approval from the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Attorney General’s Office.  That process has already hit a snag.

Landmark submitted its merger application in October, and the RI Department of Health had 30 business days to determine if the document was “complete.”

According to the Department of Health (DOH), it sent a confidential letter to Landmark and Steward last Thursday, calling the application incomplete and asking for adjustments.  Peter Hanney with DOH said he couldn’t discuss what was missing from the application.

Hanney says Landmark and Steward now have until December 27th to fix the application. Then DOH has 10 BUSINESS  days to determine if this version is “complete.”

This process could go on forever. When Care New England and Lifespan applied for a hospital merger, the application sat in this limbo for about two years before the hospital chains gave up.

Landmark doesn’t have two years.  Unlike Lifespan and Care New England, it has limited cash on hand and needs to complete this merger as soon as possible.

Lifespan folks would rather have this application process move as quickly as the merger between St. Joseph’s Health Services and Roger Williams Medical Center. They  submitted a merger application in February of 2009 and received final approval that October.

I wrote a a little cheat sheet on the hospital conversion process back in June when Landmark was finalizing its purchase agreement with Landmark. Take a look for a better sense of what the medical center can expect.

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