RI health care

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Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket announced plans last week to close, citing financial troubles. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says that while politicians protest, no one should be surprised at this development. (Advance copy of commentary scheduled to air Monday).

Lynn Arditi

Memorial Hospital is closing all but some walk-in clinics after its planned sale to a California hospital chain fell through.

Hospital officials announced the decision on Tuesday at a noon meeting with hundreds of employees.

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Rhode Islanders seem to enjoy, or take perverse glee, in running down their state, especially the government. But a new study from the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation shows the Ocean State a national leader in ACA health care. It turns out that of the 20 states and the District of Columbia, where preliminary 2018 premiums and insurer information are available, premiums in the individual markets will rise in every one –except Rhode Island.

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Boston’s big hospital system –Partners HealthCare—is acquiring Care New England, Rhode Island’s second largest hospital chain. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this deal raises many questions about the quality and price of health care in the Ocean State.

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In a letter to doctors, Lifespan CEO Dr. Timothy J. Babineau has criticized the proposed merger of Boston-based Partner HealthCare and Lifespan’s chief Rhode Island competition, Care New England.

Lifespan and Care New England, Rhode Island’s two largest hospital systems, have quietly revived merger talks, Lifespan ceo and president, Dr. Timothy Babineau, said today.

In a brief interview, Babineau said the talks ``are in very early stages’’ and are in response to Care New England’s request for partnership proposals that was released last spring.

Aaron Read

Just 5 percent of Rhode Islanders now lack health insurance and the uninsured rate has dropped by more than half since 2012, according to data released today by HealthSourceRI, the state’s Obamacare health exchange.

The rate of Rhode Islanders who lack health insurance has declined from 11 percent in 2012 to 5 percent now.

Anya Rader Wallack, HealthSource director, said the numbers show the Affordable Care Act is working best in states, like Rhode Island, that have expanded Medicaid and run state-based health exchanges, rather than relying on the federal program.

The Teamsters Union Local 251 and Rhode Island Hospital management have reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract that the union says will bring $19 million in improved wages and benefits to workers at the Lifespan hospital network.

The agreement was reached late Friday evening, according to a statement by the union bargaining committee posted on social media.