Source: by Cara Rosner, CT News Junkie, Oct 24, 2014
A senior official at the Dallas-based corporation trying to buy community hospitals in Bristol, Vernon, Manchester and Waterbury says privatizing them is the best way to keep them viable, but employee representatives have major concerns about the potential buyouts.
…. Union officials who represent hospital workers aren’t so sure. “There are serious questions about how this takeover would impact quality of care,” said Suzanne Haviland, field representative for AFSCME International, the union representing nurses and technical employees at Waterbury Hospital, which Tenet is in the process of acquiring.
For-profit hospital deal gets done. Then, doubts behind the scenes
Source: Arielle Levin Becker, CT Mirror, May 9, 2014
Late Wednesday night, lawmakers managed to accomplish something many doubted would be possible: Crafting a compromise that could clear the way for four Connecticut hospitals to be acquired by a for-profit company, in a way that would mollify both unions critical of the transactions and hospitals wary of additional state oversight. The measure cleared the House and Senate by wide margins. Union leaders supported the deal. Hospital lobbyists looked pleased. But for some legislators key to the deal, any sense of celebration after the deal was short-lived. Their concern: The response to the bill by Tenet Healthcare and the Yale New Haven Health System, which are partnering to acquire Waterbury, Bristol, Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals. ….
Hospital Privatization Debate Takes Hold In General Assembly
Source: William Weir, Hartford Courant, February 27, 2014
Several Connecticut hospitals are looking to form partnerships with for-profit companies — a change that some say is necessary for hospitals to survive but that others charge would emphasize money over health care and community needs. Thursday, the legislature’s labor and public employees committee heard arguments for and against a bill that would put restrictions on hospitals seeking to convert from nonprofit to for-profit. The bill would require, among other things, that hospitals maintain staffing levels for at least three years after receiving the attorney general’s approval for converting to for-profit status, and to maintain the same employee salaries and benefits that were in place before the conversion. Tenet Healthcare Corp., a Dallas-based for-profit company that has partnered with Yale New Haven Health System, is negotiating to acquire Waterbury Hospital. Bristol Hospital and Eastern Connecticut Health Network are also in merger talks with Tenet. …
Gov. Malloy says ‘progress is being made’
Source: Michael Schroeder, Bristol Press, February 27, 2014
Gov. Dannel Malloy says “progress is being made” on legislation related to the long-awaited sale of Bristol Hospital to Tenet Healthcare, although there is much work to be done. The governor responded to questions about the hospital negotiations during a telephone conference call with editors of state newspapers Wednesday. The focus of the call was on the billion-dollar United Technologies expansion agreement announced the previous day. Malloy recommitted to evaluating privatization of nonprofit hospitals based on how such a move would impact patient care, hospital employees and contributors to the hospitals involved, adding that evaluation and legislation on a case-by-case basis would likely be necessary. He said he would be open to privatization if necessary, but his preference was for the hospitals “to remain in the same hands as they are now.” Bristol Hospital — along with the hospitals of Eastern Connecticut Health Network in Manchester — have purchase agreements pending with Tenet, which purchased Vanguard Healthcare, the originators of the acquisition….
Workers want protections in hospital mergers
Source: Don Michak, Journal Inquirer December 4, 2013
The General Assembly should not allow the state’s nonprofit hospitals to be converted to for-profit entities without taking steps to ensure safe nurse-to-patient ratios, preserve the jobs of support workers, and protect employee pensions, union officials say….Similarly, the leader of the union that represents 400 nurses at Waterbury Hospital said lawmakers should require “for-profit converters” to make certain guarantees. Waterbury Hospital, along with Bristol Hospital and Eastern Connecticut Health Network’s Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals, has been targeted for takeover by the Texas hospital chain Tenet Healthcare. Barbara Simonetta, president of Connecticut Health Associates, said such guarantees would include agreements to maintain access to current health services and affordable care. She said the for-profits also should agree to maintain “quality staffing and hospital employees’ standard of living” and to comply with “community benefits” provisions, including patient and worker protections. Simonetta also complained that Waterbury Hospital was making “cuts to woo investors to its fire sale” and accused Tenet of “stealing our retirement security to line investors’ pockets.”…
Committee Hears Pros & Cons of For-Profit vs. Nonprofit Hospitals
Source: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, December 4, 2013
Tempers flared at the end of the this year’s legislative session over a bill that would have made it easier for a private, for-profit hospital company to purchase physician practices from a nonprofit hospital that it planned to take over….Waterbury Hospital was the first to start courting for-profit suitors like Vanguard Health Systems, a Tennessee-based for-profit hospital operator that was recently acquired by another Texas-based for-profit company called Tenet HealthCare Corporation. Tenet has been in negotiations with Waterbury Hospital and has been courted by Bristol Hospital, and Eastern Connecticut Health Network. But the question lawmakers will have to answer is: Would a for-profit risk quality care in order to achieve savings for shareholders?…
Officials on hospital takeovers: Not so fast
Source: Don Michak, Journal Inquirer, July 30, 2013
…Barnes and other administration officials say the out-of-state companies and corporate buyout firms that would acquire or merge with the hospitals and convert them into for-profit providers should not be allowed to make the switch without a major public “discussion.”… The officials spoke with the Journal Inquirer in recent days as Eastern Connecticut Health Network, the nonprofit owner of Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals, is poised to “partner” with one of two larger for-profit hospital systems based in Tennessee and Texas….
…Attorney General Jepsen, who along with the commissioner of the state health department has power of approval over sale of nonprofit hospitals, agreed with Barnes that conversions are “kind of the wave of the future,” adding, “We’re not going to be able to turn back the clock.” Asked if he is concerned that a community’s needs no longer would be the priority of a former nonprofit, Jepsen demurred, asserting that the attorney general’s role in a conversion is limited…. Jepsen added that Sharon Hospital “is the only completed conversion,” referring to the Litchfield County facility acquired in 2002 by the Tennessee for-profit system, Essent Healthcare….