DOH approves open heart surgery merger

Providence, RI – Rhode Island Hospital and Miriam Hospital now have permission to combine their open heart surgery programs onto one campus.

Interim Director of the Department of Health, Dr. Michael Fine, approved the hospitals' request today along with some conditions. He says the medical centers must update health officials on the demographics of their patients and offer to enroll them in Rhode Island's electronic medical records system.

In a written statement, Fine applauded a drop in demand for open heart surgery in the Ocean State, saying it's a result of improvements in public health and primary care services. Still, he says the state wants to ensure that all Rhode Islanders, including low-income and uninsured residents continue to have access to "this life-saving service."

The combined opened heart surgery program will be housed at Rhode Island Hospital, an undertaking that will require nearly 3 million dollars in renovations.

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