Landmark and other updates
Yesterday I wondered what would happen at the public hearing on the sale of Landmark Medical Center to Steward Health Care System– the for profit hospital chain from Massachusetts. I got my answer that afternoon, and I can tell you it was an easy story to write.
Every single person at the podium spoke in favor of the sale. Many were emotional about what the loss of the hospital might mean for Woonsocket’s economy and their personal health. Several people said they owe their lives to Landmark. Everyone saw Steward as the hospital’s best and only chance for survival.
I wasn’t at the 6pm hearing and neither was Felice Freyer from the Projo. But she reports that according to the Attorney General’s spokeswoman Amy Kempe, the showing was similar at night- 19 in favor with only one opposed.
Now I know some people are whispering about Steward’s demands, which range from getting the ability to buy multiple hospitals to cutting jobs and services at the hospital. In private, some health care folks say that the state has too many hospitals and Landmark is adding unnecessary waste and duplication to the system.
But those voices weren’t present at the hearing. Are they afraid to speak? Or do those people assume this sale has a momentum that can’t be stopped?
Other Landmark news…
Mediation between Landmark, Steward, and Blue Cross Blue Shield begins today and continues tomorrow. Read my interview with the mediator– attorney William Dolan of BrownRudnick to get a sense of how the process will work.
Buying hospitals in bulk up for committee vote
The RI Senate Committee on Health and Human Services is set to vote tomorrow on a bill that would change the Rhode Island’s Hospital Conversions Act. Steward is advocating for the passage of this bill, which among other things would allow for profits to buy more than one hospital in a year. Want to weigh in? The committee votes tomorrow at 3pm in room 212 of the State House.
I thought you were leaving…
Since I announced my leap from journalism to the world of health care reform, people have been asking about my “expiration date.” Here’s the deal- I’ll be at the station until April 27th so I can fully participate in one more RIPR fund drive. Maybe say goodbye with a extra big donation?
And what happens to your job?
Another question I get a lot. Yes, Rhode Island Public Radio is hiring a new health care reporter. If you’re interested in taking on the task, we’re still accepting applications until Friday, the 13th of April.