Letter to Center for Health Systems Policy and Regulations

Published 12/13/2017

Re: Closing of Memorial Hospital

December 11, 2018

Paula Pullano, MPA
Center for Health Systems Policy and Regulations
Rhode Island Department of Health
3 Capitol Hill, Room 410
Providence, RI 02908

Dear Ms. Pullano
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors and membership of the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, representing 93 companies with over 83,000 employees, to advance two evidence-based arguments in support of the planned and efficient closing of the Pawtucket Memorial Hospital.  The first argument, as you will note from the attached OP/ED which was published in the Providence Journal, is that the report commissioned by RI Executive Offices of Health & Human Services demonstrated that Rhode Island has excess hospital capacity which can be reduced by the planned, efficient closure of Pawtucket Memorial Hospital.  Data from the American Hospital Association demonstrates that closure can be accomplished without loss of jobs on average.  Further, a recent article from researchers at Harvard Medical School demonstrates that hospitals can be closed without fear of compromising quality of care.

The second argument focuses on the need to close Pawtucket Memorial Hospital efficiently which means without protracted debate or costly conditions.  According to data from the American Hospital Association, over the last 10 years the Kent Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital experienced 10% and 20% declines in admissions respectively without a corresponding decrease in expenses.  This suggests that the two major acute care hospitals in the Care New England system are not on a stable footing that would allow them to endure a protracted debate or costly conditions.

I would like to close by emphasizing that most healthcare experts agree that hospitals are facing dramatic threats, ranging from price competition to offloading of profitable orthopedic cases to the ambulatory sector.  You can help strengthen Care New England with a prompt and efficient closure of Pawtucket Memorial Hospital.
I would be more than happy to discuss this matter at your convenience.

Albert D. Charbonneau
Executive Director
Rhode Island Business Group on Health