A Rhode Island hospital is closing units and laying off employees a little more than two years after joining Care New England.
Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket said Monday that it is eliminating a number of positions and closing its birthing center, one of its surgical departments and its intensive care unit.
Care New England President and CEO Dennis Keefe said a 200-bed surplus in Rhode Island, “flagging inpatient income” and federal payment changes prompted the move.
“On a national level, the Affordable Care Act emphasizes population healthcare, which calls upon healthcare facilities to keep people well through preventative measures instead of just treating them in hospitals when they are sick,” Keefe said in a statement. “This trend is forcing facilities and systems to redefine themselves to be more streamlined and responsive to the needs of the people we serve.”
Memorial wants to move the obstetrics unit to Kent Hospital in Warwick, R.I., or Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., both part of the Care New England system. That change will need to be approved by the state.
“We realize that there is concern about the relocation of the obstetrical service,” Memorial President Dr. Michael Dacey said, “But we know the state already has sufficient obstetrical beds, and we believe there is already sufficient choice in the community to satisfy the diverse preferences of parents-to-be.”
The hospital will also consolidate lab services and will layoff an undisclosed number of staffers.
Dacey said that Memorial will concentrate on primary care and will essentially serve as an outpatient facility. The hospital also operates the New England Pediatric Institute of Neurodevelopment, which will remain open.
United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5082 President Rita Brennan released a statement following the announcement saying she was deeply troubled to learn of the unit closures and layoffs that may potentially affect nurses represented by the union.
“I intend to fully review and consider the union's options with legal counsel and will move forward with any reasonable efforts that will protect our members and Memorial patients," she said.
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island joined the Care New England system in 2013.