“Governor Malloy had the opportunity to close this deal and he failed” –Tenet deal is over [New Haven Register]

February 5, 2015

Middletown Press
HARTFORD >> Tenet Healthcare Corp., which in partnership with the Yale New Haven Health System sought to acquire four hospital systems in Connecticut, said in a release Wednesday that “we regret to announce that we have decided to end our discussions.”

“We believe it is best for the hospitals, their employees and the communities they serve to move forward exploring other options,” said the release provided by Tenet Corporate Communications Vice President Steven Campanini.

The corporation had worked for more than two years toward a deal to buy the hospitals and run them privately. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had said in December that, from his standpoint, talking with Tenet was at a dead end. Then last month Tenet accepted Malloy’s offer to renew negotiations to acquire Connecticut hospitals in Bristol, Manchester, Vernon and Waterbury.

However, in the release Wednesday, Malloy said, “The environment for both providers and state government is complex and rapidly changing. Unfortunately, the issues that separated us simply could not be overcome.

“We will continue to work with the hospitals, the affected communities and our colleagues in the legislature to come up with smart, creative solutions that will preserve local access to care for all patients.”

Trevor Fetter, president and chief executive officer at Tenet, said, also in the release, “While Tenet is disappointed with the outcome, we wish the hospitals, local community leaders and Governor Malloy the very best in their effort to build a sustainable future for these and other hospitals in the state of Connecticut,”
Sharon Hospital is the only for-profit hospital in the state.

Lawmakers last year adopted legislation allowing for-profit hospitals to hire doctors, an element crucial to any deal with Tenet, but the issue now is centering on cost savings.

Tenet had submitted applications also to purchase St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Bristol Hospital and the Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which includes Manchester and Rockville hospitals.

Senate Minority Leader Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, said in a statement that loss of the negotiations “is a devastating blow to the Waterbury community as well as the entire state.”

“Governor Malloy had the opportunity to close this deal and he failed. It is unfortunately consistent with his lack of leadership over the last two years on this issue,” he said. “The legislature worked hard to open the doors. And when the plan crumbled, I was proud to join with Senator Martin Looney and other legislators to try to resuscitate the deal and get both sides back to the table.

“While I am disappointed, I am not surprised. It was Governor Malloy whose veto in 2013 set back this whole process. It was Governor Malloy whose executive agency OHCA proposed conditions that went above and beyond what the legislature previously rejected as too onerous. It was Governor Malloy who closed the negotiation doors to those who got Tenet to come back to the table.

Mark Ojakian, Malloy’s chief of staff, who had been trying to revive the Tenet talks, blasted Fasano’s response.

“Senator Fasano has become a partisan talking-point machine, heckling from the sidelines instead of actually doing the hard work of governing. The fact is, Len hasn’t offered one serious idea on the hospital issues in Waterbury. Just like he hasn’t offered one serious idea on the budget, or one serious idea on economic development. He should spend more time working on serious ideas and less time writing letters and press releases,” Ojakian said in a statement.

After the deal with Tenet fell apart last year, St. Francis Care, the parent of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, announced it was merging with Trinity Health in Michigan. It would remain a nonprofit entity, unlike Waterbury.