Care New England Health System will continue to employ as many as 200 people in Pawtucket after the planned closure of Memorial Hospital.
Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital chain released a plan Monday to transition from a full-service community hospital to an outpatient center for family care and internal medicine that will include a walk-in clinic. Care New England's plan makes no mention of any job numbers, but James Beardsworth, a Care New England spokesman, confirmed the union's 200-job estimate in an email.
The agreement comes one week after the United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) Local 5082 filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court alleging that Care New England ignored critical regulatory provisions as it attempted to wind down services at Memorial.
As a result of the agreement, the union has withdrawn the suit, UNAP said in a statement.
“We are pleased that this agreement creates a tangible plan for the continuation of important healthcare services and jobs in Pawtucket and the Blackstone Valley,” Chris Callaci, the general counsel for UNAP, said in the statement. “Part of the agreement requires the parties to actively work with local officials in reaching out of the community to advance this model and the UNAP looks forward to doing its part.’’
Care New England's chief operating officer, Dr. James E. Fanale, said in a separate statement released by Care New England that the announcement "represents the collaboration and determination of CNE, the Governor’s Office, the Mayor of Pawtucket, and representatives from the union to ensure a comprehensive plan of care is developed and implemented.''
As of mid-October, when Care New England announced plans to close Memorial, the hospital employed about 800 people, 600 of them full-time.
Updated 1:30 p.m.