Department of Health gives go-ahead to close Memorial Hospital
By News Staff
PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – The Rhode Island Department of Health approved Care New England’s application to close Memorial Hospital’s emergency department Thursday, a decision that includes conditions meant to support local emergency medical response centers, maintain the state’s primary care training infrastructure and invest in community-level health.
“We spent weeks carefully weighing CNE’s applications to understand how these changes at Memorial Hospital would affect the most vulnerable residents of Pawtucket and Central Falls, and the state’s healthcare system as a whole,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. Alexander-Scott says she placed numerous conditions on the approval “to ensure that residents continue to have access to the high-quality care they need”, and that these “conditions call on CNE to invest in community-level initiatives that will positively impact the underlying socioeconomic and environmental factors that actually determine the health of people and their neighborhoods.”
RIDOH set up two community meetings in Pawtucket in December to gather input from the community, as well as to collect written comments. The input gathered at these meetings informed RIDOH’s decision and conditions. These conditions include, among others, requirements for Care New England to:
Open a 7-day walk-in clinic in Pawtucket
Provide $300,000 to Pawtucket and $200,000 to Central Falls each year for two years to offset the cost of transporting patients to other hospitals
Develop a transportation plan for patients and families to offset costs of traveling to other hospitals
Maintain Memorial Hospital’s Family Care and Internal Medicine Centers in Pawtucket at current hours and staffing levels.
Invest $100,000 annually in the Pawtucket and Central Falls Health Equity Zones (areas throughout the state where organizations are coming together to provide communities with healthcare programs)
Make outplacement and career transition services available to staff through an outplacement firm hired by CNE.