Rhode Island health officials on Thursday approved Care New England’s plan to close Memorial Hospital’s emergency department, effectively shutting down the hospital.
The decision, effective Monday, includes a number of conditions – such as maintaining a walk-in clinic open seven days a week in Pawtucket -- designed to ensure services to area residents and off-set costs associated with transporting patients to other hospitals, according to a statement released by the state Department of Health.
The approval comes less than three months after Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital system announced plans to close Memorial, which lost more $16.3 million during the first nine months of the fiscal year -- the most of any of hospital in its network.
Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said the conditions of the approval “seek to ensure that residents continue to have access to the high-quality care they need’’ while requiring Care New England to invest in the Pawtucket and Central Falls communities to improve the health of its residents.
Care New England said in a statement that it “remains committed to ensuring access to community-based, outpatient care that meets the future health care needs in the Blackstone Valley.”
The conditions for the closure of Memorial also include that Care New England:
· provide $300,000 to Pawtucket and $200,000 to Central Falls each year for the next two years to off-set emergency medical services costs associated with transporting patients to other area hospitals;
· maintain Memorial’s family care and internal medicine centers in Pawtucket at their current hours and staffing levels;
· invest $100,000 annually in Pawtucket and Central Falls Health Equity Zones, which aim to prevent chronic disease and improve the health outcomes for those neighborhoods.
On Dec. 18, Care New England and the United Nurses and Allied Professionals Union Local 5082 released a plan to transition Memorial from a full-service community hospital to the outpatient centers and a clinic that union officials said will reserve 200 health care jobs in Pawtucket.