Keep Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Open
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In light of the unexpected and devastating announcement from Care New England regarding their intention to cease emergency and inpatient services at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, the cascade of events that will occur as a result of this decision will be catastrophic. The impact of Memorial's closure will isolate and shatter the communities that have relied on the hospital for over 100 years, and the long history of medical education at Memorial will come to an end. For those who will be impacted, this is a tragedy that did not have to happen.
Along with the socio-economic, humanitarian, professional, and financial implications of the decision to close Memorial, the elimination and loss of the hospital and Brown University’s top-notch medical education programs will be felt for years to come. For over 40 years, Memorial and Brown have trained generations of bright and dedicated physicians, many of whom continue to contribute to the diverse fabric of Rhode Island.
The complexities of providing healthcare to the poor and disenfranchised are well known. However, there is more at play in the Memorial story than just external forces. Since acquiring Memorial, Care New England has systematically worked to dismantle its facilities, services, and workforce. Through short-sighted planning and disingenuous communication tactics, Care New England leadership has actively contributed to the current situation in which we find this hospital.
Anyone who has spent time in Pawtucket and Central Falls knows full well that these cities are home to among the poorest, most vulnerable, and disenfranchised in the state. But they are still Rhode Islanders. It is unlikely that this population will cross the river to go to Miriam or Rhode Island Hospital where emergency departments are already overloaded, and wait times are through the roof.
It is true that no one should be surprised at this turn of events, but this didn't have to happen. Memorial has been brought to this point by years of chronic and neglectful mismanagement before Care New England came in, and malicious mismanagememt under their leadership, including a public smear campaign waged against their own hospital: allowing service lines to remain unstaffed, only to fade away; stripping Memorial of hard assets; and, hiring Memorial physicians who spend most of their time at Kent.
We ask why Care New England walked away from negotiations with Prime, an organization that was ready, willing and able to purchase Memorial and strategically invest time, money, and resources. And we ask why employees are being threatened with termination if they speak to anyone outside the organization.
We seek your support and advocacy. We ask that you bring to bear all of your considerable influence to preserve this important teaching hospital, the medical education programs within, and hundreds of jobs. We are seeking your wise counsel and leadership to bring Care New England back to the table with Prime to close the deal, or appoint a special master, or convene stakeholders in higher education, healthcare, government, and business to stop the closure of this hospital and reverse the losses that it has suffered under years of neglect and mismanagement.
We feel that it is in the best interests of the great State of Rhode Island that Memorial remain open in order to continue providing Rhode Islanders with quality and compassionate health care, and in doing so is given the chance to rebuild and thrive.
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