PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The mayor of Pawtucket and several other leaders are urging Care New England to make a decision sooner rather than later on the fate of the now-shuttered Memorial Hospital.
CharterCare Health Partners announced on April 12 a proposal to reopen part of the hospital.
Eyewitness News obtained a copy of a letter sent from Blackstone Valley political leaders asking Care New England to look at the plan expeditiously and consider it seriously. The letter is signed by the mayor’s of Cumberland, Pawtucket and Central Falls. State Senator Elizabeth Crowley was also included.
“We’re encouraging Care New England, you don’t want the building, sell it to someone who wants it and wants to utilize it to the best of it’s potential,” Crowley said.
Crowley said Rhode Island needs to find a way to assist CharterCare’s plan and believes the state should look at how much it reimburses CharterCare for services.
“I think we need to find a way to better reimburse our hospitals and all of the people who work in healthcare,” Crowley said.
The pitch to buy the hospital from Care New England would include getting rid of an asbestos problem and lobbying the state for higher reimbursement for care at Memorial and their other hospitals, Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima Hospital.
“This deal is contingent upon us getting rate parity,” CharterCare CEO John Holiver said.
The proposal was met with skepticism from Care New England, saying CharterCare’s proposal was an ill-conceived plan with no true thought for serving the community.
Care New England Spokesperson Jim Beardsworth sent Eyewitness News a statement about the letter:
“We have received the letter and communicated to the mayor and others that CNE continues to carefully review the proposal put forward while also proceeding with the required assessment of the property and gathering estimates for important work needed regarding the facility’s infrastructure, including asbestos abatement. We will continue this work keeping both the mayor and other community officials updated throughout.”