The extension is based on multiple factors to ensure a full vetting under the Hospital Conversions Act
PROVIDENCE, RI – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott announced today that they are extending the time for completion of their review of the application of Chamber/Ivy (Prospect CharterCARE) under the Hospital Conversions Act. The review period has been extended to ensure that the State has all the information necessary to determine whether to approve the proposed transaction, and under what conditions. Prospect CharterCARE owns Roger Williams Medical Center and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in Rhode Island.
"The importance of safeguarding Rhode Islanders' access to safe and affordable healthcare has never been clearer," said Attorney General Neronha. "It is therefore critical that we, and the Rhode Island Department of Health, conduct a thoughtful and thorough review of every aspect of this proposed transaction. Anything less would not be in the best interest of the people of Rhode Island."
In a letter to the Health Services Council Wednesday, the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Health enclosed their joint July 3, 2020 letter to counsel for the Transacting Parties, which reiterates the State's statutory responsibilities under the Hospital Conversions Act and outlines the reasons for the extension. Key factors include:
• Need for information regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the proposed transaction;
• Delay in receiving documents relevant to the RIDOH and RIAG's review;
• Need for additional information regarding a real estate transaction with Medical Properties Trust;
• Outstanding questions about the $12 million purchase price and payments of dividends to shareholders by Prospect Medical Holdings (parent of Prospect CharterCARE) in recent years.
Under the Hospital Conversions Act, the State's review is "to assure the viability of a safe, accessible and affordable healthcare system that is available to all of the citizens of the state" and "to review whether for-profit hospitals will maintain, enhance, or disrupt the delivery of healthcare in the state."
The extension is anticipated to be for an additional 90 days from the initial review period, or until November 5, 2020. The reviewing authorities note, however, that continued cooperation and timely response to requests for supplemental information could shorten the completion of the review.