“Steward has spent many years trying to help Landmark and the Woonsocket community, where certainly it appears everyone else in Rhode Island could care less,” de la Torre said in the Aug. 8 letter. “Your tone in both ending your efforts in this facilitation and reminding us of your deadline only underscored Rhode Island's unwelcome attitude to Steward.”
A spokeswoman for Kilmartin said de la Torre's letter is “revisionist at best.” Kilmartin's spokeswoman confirmed that the letters—posted online in a local news report—are authentic.
She added that Kilmartin not only extended the deal's deadline for another month—it was originally scheduled to close in July—but he had set up meetings between Steward and BCBSRI, including an Aug. 6 meeting that Steward officials walked out of at de la Torre's request.
A BCBSRI spokesman said that negotiations are ongoing, but the insurer had no comment on the letters at this time.
Steward's plans to acquire Landmark include a number of conditions, such as requiring lawmakers to amend a state law that limited the number of hospitals in Rhode Island that a for-profit company could acquire within a three-year period.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee allowed the changes to the Hospital Conversions Act become law without his signature earlier this summer.
In de la Torre's letter, he said Steward was willing to waive several conditions of the asset-purchase agreement in exchange for $3 million in rate increases from BCBSRI. As of July 31, BCBSRI had offered a 5.5% increase for a one-year contract.
“I cannot emphasize enough that time is of the essence and Steward must take affirmative action to bring this process to closure,” Kilmartin said in an Aug. 7 letter to de la Torre.