In December, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had little hope that a private hospital chain would come back to the table to buy five Connecticut hospitals, but on Monday he extended an invitation to the CEO of the Texas-based chain to sit down with his chief of staff.
In this letter to Tenet Healthcare’s CEO Trevor Fetter, Malloy recommended the company select a representative to meet directly with his Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian “to reach a settlement that is beneficial to both parties.”
Tenet Healthcare Corp. pulled out of a deal on Dec. 11 to purchase Waterbury Hospital and four other hospitals in the state. Regulators imposed conditions on the purchase that “led us to conclude that the approach to regulatory oversight in Connecticut would not enable Tenet to operate the hospitals successfully for the benefit of all stakeholders,” the company said in a statement.
Malloy told Fetter that he’s concerned about the Waterbury community and what could happen to the hospital. Waterbury Hospital is the first of five that was going to convert from a nonprofit to a for-profit hospital. Tenet also was proposing to acquire Saint Mary’s in Waterbury, Bristol Hospital, Manchester Memorial Hospital, and Rockville General Hospital in Vernon.
“After Tenet Healthcare chose to withdraw its application with the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) to acquire Waterbury hospitals, our office remained in communication with stakeholders in the area as we have worked to re-start communication with Tenet Healthcare,” Malloy wrote to Fetter. “Recently, my office has been in direct contact with Trip Pilgrim, as well as your representatives in Connecticut and third party intermediaries.
“Based on these conversations, we can find a settlement that will be beneficial to your company as well as the the state of Connecticut, Waterbury residents and the Waterbury Hospitals,” Malloy wrote.
Malloy added that he is looking forward “to working together to find a solution that will not only benefit Tenet Healthcare but the Waterbury community and the entire state of Connecticut. Any agreement that we can first find on Waterbury Hospitals will be a step toward a long-term relationship with Tenet Healthcare and the State of Connecticut that can include communities outside of Waterbury.”
Darlene Stromstad, president and CEO of Waterbury Hospital and the Greater Waterbury Health Network, was encouraged by Malloy’s letter.
“Re-engaging Tenet Healthcare in Connecticut has been a high priority for the leadership and board of the Greater Waterbury Health Network and we are pleased by this latest action,” Stromstad said. “As we have said all along, we believe that Tenet Healthcare offers many benefits to our hospital, the city of Waterbury and the state as a whole. Tenet provides a common sense solution to healthcare in our city.”
Tenet objected to the conditions imposed last month by regulators. Many of the 47 conditions set forth by the Office of Health Care Access had been debated and dismissed by lawmakers who sought to come up with legislation that allowed these purchases to move forward.
The letter follows a meeting Tenet Senior Vice President Harold ‘Trip” Pilgrim had last week with Senate President Martin Looney and Senate Republican leader Len Fasano.
Fasano, who facilitated the meeting last week, said he’s hopeful Tenet will “re-engage” and that the meeting “will lead to other meetings.”