Tonight, the public will have the chance to comment on the proposed sale of CharterCare Health Partners – which owns Our Lady of Fatima and Roger Williams hospitals – to California-based Prospect Medical Holdings. But the process hasn’t been without some bumps in the road.
Like a lot of struggling nonprofit health care organizations, CharterCare started hunting for “strategic partners” to bolster its finances a couple of years ago. According to documents released by the Superior Court in Providence on Friday, CharterCare’s board of trustees whittled the field of suitors down to four. Prime Healthcare, which already owns Landmark hospital in Woonsocket, was one of them. But CharterCare chose Prospect.
Just before tonight's public hearing about the sale, Prime had hoped to derail it. Robert Flanders, an attorney for Prime, said his client’s bid for CharterCare was $10 million dollars higher than Prospect’s. But it was rebuffed. Documents from CharterCare’s board meetings – although heavily redacted – show the trustees did discuss Prime’s initial offer but didn’t like the company’s plans for an outright acquisition, versus the partnership proposed by Prospect. A judge ordered the documents released to the public, overruling Attorney General Peter Kilmartin's assertion that they should be kept confidential.
Flanders says he hopes state regulators will force CharterCare to reconsider the higher offer. CharterCare didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Because Prospect is a for-profit organization, and CharterCare is a nonprofit, any deal to acquire CharterCare must go through a regulatory process called the Hospital Conversions Act. The public hearing is a part of that process and takes place tonight from 4 - 7 pm on the campus of Rhode Island College.