What has been going on “behind the scenes” now that the Connecticut Legislature and Governor Dannel Malloy have cleared the way for investor-owned Tenet Healthcare Corporation to acquire Bristol Hospital and hospitals in Waterbury, Manchester and Rockville?
First of all, we are pleased that the Legislature and the Governor have recognized the right of Bristol Hospital and other community hospitals to determine their own future. The acquisition by Tenet will provide Bristol Hospital with the financial, operational and clinical resources we need to continue providing high quality health care services to the Bristol community for years to come.
To give you a sense of the timeframe, it is likely to be sometime in the spring 2015 before the transaction is complete and all the regulatory approvals are in place for Bristol Hospital to officially become a member of Tenet.
Between now and then the regulatory approval process involves a series of steps that engage the public, several state agencies and ultimately the Attorney General for the state of Connecticut.
The process began on July 21 when Bristol Hospital, Tenet and Yale New Haven Health Services Corporation (a proposed 20 percent owner of the Hospital) filed a Certificate of Need Determination request with the Office of Health Care Access (“OHCA”), and the Attorney General.
Within 30 days of filing the Certificate of Need Determination request , Bristol Hospital is required to conduct a public hearing to explain the terms of the agreement with Tenet. The public hearing is scheduled to take place at 6 pm, Thursday, Aug. 14, in the Bristol Hospital Hughes Auditorium.
The public notice for the hearing—which includes a detailed summary of the Certificate of Need Letter of Determination is now posted.
The next step involves Bristol Hospital, Tenet and Yale submitting a Certificate of Need (“CON”), application to OHCA and the Attorney General for review once the application form is provided to us.
We then have 60 days to file the application with OHCA and the Attorney General providing all of the information related to the terms of the acquisition. OHCA and the Attorney General have 120 days to review our application. During that timeframe OHCA and the Attorney General will conduct their own public hearing at which representatives of Bristol Hospital, Tenet and Yale will be asked to testify and answer questions.
By what criteria will OHCA and the Attorney General judge our application?
We will need to assure “continued access to high quality and affordable health care after accounting for any proposed change impacting hospital staffing.”
Tenet must make a commitment to provide health care to the uninsured and underinsured.
Other criteria include demonstrating a clear public need, the impact on financial strength of the health care system and improvement of quality, accessibility and cost effectiveness of health care delivery in the region.
OHCA and the Attorney General will review utilization of existing health care facilities and services in the region, and whether there is any duplication of existing services or facilities.
Additionally the new law requires that the transaction not negatively impact the diversity of health care providers and patient choice in the geographic region, and any consolidation resulting from the transaction will not adversely affect health care costs or accessibility to care.
Use of the proceeds of the sale of the Hospital to Tenet is also governed by state law and will be subject to review by OHCA and the Attorney General. The proceeds of the sale will be transferred to a new foundation not affiliated through corporate structure, governance or membership with Bristol Hospital, Tenet or Yale.
According to state law the new foundation is to use the proceeds of the sale for appropriate charitable health care purposes consistent with the Hospital’s original purpose, or for the support and promotion of health care generally in the affected community or, with respect to donor restricted assets, consistent with the intent of the donor.
These are high standards to be sure, but I am confident that Bristol Hospital, Tenet and Yale will demonstrate that our affiliation meets all the requirements, and we will prove that this application is “Best for Bristol.”