State Sens. Fasano, Kennedy seek review for clinics closing in Branford, East Haven [NH Register]

July 2, 2015

New Haven Register

Two state senators are requesting a formal review and public hearing to explore options concerning Yale New Haven Health System’s plans to shut clinics in Branford and East Haven.

According to a release, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, and Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr, D-Branford, are asking Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen to examine the impact the closures of the two clinics will have on the communities’ access to patient care. The senators want the Office of Health Care Access to conduct a full Certificate of Need review.

“Given the virtual monopoly that YNHHS has over many health care services, it is incumbent upon the state to ensure that it maintains adequate access to affordable care,” the two senators wrote in a release. “We are concerned that, having spent years buying physician practices and consolidating health care services in the Greater New Haven area under its umbrella, YNHHS now is choosing to deal with new burdens by terminating community services simply because it is not making as much money as it would like instead of making a decision based on maintaining access to care,” the two senators wrote.

The lawmakers want a “rigorous review” as well as the opportunity for a public hearings on the potential closings.

William Gerrish, spokesperson for the Department of Public Health, said in a statement that a Certificate of Need is required for the proposed closures.

“Once OHCA has received the CON applications, and deemed them complete, it will schedule public hearings regarding these proposals,” Gerrish said.

Vin P. Petrini, senior vice president of Public Affairs at Yale-New Haven Hospital, said the hospital was disappointed that neither senator reached out to them prior to issuing the release.

“We would have been more than open to walking through any of their concerns and providing appropriate context,” Petrini said.

Petrini said the hospital will comply with any request made by the Office of Health Care Access. Petrini said a Certificate of Need for the clinic in East Haven has been filed. A Certificate of Need for the Branford clinic will be filed, Petrini said.

In the letter, the senators also questioned Yale-New Haven’s decision to close the clinics while exploring a possible expansion and affiliation with Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London. The two made their request in a letter dated June 29 and addressed to Mullen; a spokesperson for the Senate Republican Office said Mullen had yet to respond to the letter.

The hospital is closing the two facilities due to state budget cuts; Petrini previously said the closures would save $1 million.

Petrini said the potential partnership with L+M is being considered to help make the health care system more efficient and manage the massive cuts; Petrini said the hospital had $57 million in funding cut under the new state budget.

“It allows us to reduce costs associated with healthcare while providing access,” Petrini said.
Petrini said clients from the two clinics slated for closure will be able to receive medical care at the hospital’s nearby clinics in Hamden, North Haven and New Haven.

The East Haven clinic provides urgent care and occupational health services, while the Branford clinic offers occupational health services and physical therapy.