With the announcement last week that Care New England is a step closer to becoming a part of Partners HealthCare of Boston, CNE prepared a list of “talking points” aimed at addressing questions whether the plan will result in layoffs to its impact on health care prices and the quality of care for Rhode Islanders.
The three-page document obtained by the Beacon also addresses questions on the structure of the proposed merger, whether more care would go to Boston and what the change, assuming the parties reach an agreement and gain necessary regulatory approvals, would mean for academics.
While not specifically named, both the talking points and the press release issued Thursday by CNE address issues raised by Brown University President Christina Paxson who, in an open letter two weeks ago, was critical of the CNE/Partners deal, saying it would impair Rhode Island healthcare and siphon patients from Rhode Island to Massachusetts. She advocated a Brown/Prospect Healthcare plan to acquire CNE.
Mayor Scott Avedisian said yesterday he had been contacted by CNE prior to the announcement, but, “I’m still not getting any information.”
He said he has asked for an explanation of the agreement and what it means.
“I applaud Brown for their proposal,” Avedisian said. He said Brown “at least offered some detail.”
So far, dissemination of information has been limited to press releases and written statements.
In Thursday’s release, CNE Board Chair Charles R. Reppucci says, “While we still have much more work ahead of us, we are one step closer to realizing a unique clinical affiliation that would place Rhode Island at the forefront of health care delivery both locally and beyond.”
The FAQs/talking points obtained by the Beacon go into greater detail, saying that the largest number of discharges leaving the state for Massachusetts was in cardiac services, with 28 percent of those cases going to Southcoast Hospital Group, not Boston.
“We believe this presents an opportunity to bring Rhode Island patients back to Rhode Island,” reads the sheet.
As for the quality of care, CNE reasons the affiliation with Partners “will further enhance coordination and continuity of care with the world’s best academic medical centers when needed.” It goes on to list the benefits from the existing affiliation with Partners Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Asked if Brown would pursue its offer with Prospect, and might even testify in opposition to a CNE/Partners deal should one come before regulators, Brown information officer Brian Clark submitted the following statement:
“We look forward to learning about the details of the proposed acquisition of CNE by Partners HealthCare and engaging with them to discuss their plans. As Rhode Island regulators assess the plan, we urge them to analyze the impact on access to healthcare, the cost of medical care, and jobs and economic development in Rhode Island, and consider whether a local option would better serve the residents of the state. Regardless of the outcome, Brown remains committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to promote the health of our population and economic development in the state.”
CNE describes the definitive agreement as a more formal document that would outline the details and plans for the actual transaction.
“Following the development and execution of the definitive agreement, it is expected the organizations would move forward with the needed state and federal regulatory approvals. Both CNE and Partners hope to develop and execute the definitive agreement as soon as possible,” reads the release.
Further, the release says the existing letter of intent (LOI) and exclusivity has been extended until such a time as a definitive agreement has been executed.
In addressing the question of layoffs, the talking points say the transaction is designed to maintain the highest quality of care and service in the community.
“That requires an ongoing need for local employees. We must continue to do all that we can now to improve our financial future, but our belief, in the long-term, is that this will bring significant opportunities to the Rhode Island workforce.”
On the issue of healthcare costs, the answer is that prices are regulated and “therefore there should be no increase in costs.”