2013-01-30 – Rhode Island Officially Approves Merger Between L+M, Westerly Hospitals
The Rhode Island Department of Health today informed Lawrence + Memorial Corporation that it has deemed complete the application L+M filed toward closing on its acquisition of The Westerly Hospital.
“This is a significant and welcome step,” said Bruce D. Cummings, president and chief executive officer of L+M. “We look forward now to working further with state regulators and with the Special Master to bring this transaction to a quick closing so we can provide stability to The Westerly Hospital and the communities it serves.
“The Westerly Hospital has provided great care for generations,” Cummings continued. “That won’t change – nor does our commitment for again making it a strong and viable community hospital.”
Initial regulatory filings, which were required by the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Attorney General, were made November 2. Rhode Island law requires that any change of owner of a hospital must receive approval from both the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Health by making a Change of Effective Control application and also completing filings under the state’s Hospital Conversion Act.
The three L+M applications were the first to be made under a new process available in Rhode Island which is directed at expediting the regulatory review for a Rhode Island hospital that is financially distressed and is being acquired by another non-profit hospital.
Director of Health Dr. Michael Fine notified the parties in September that his office would provide an expedited review of the conversion process. Under the expedited process, L+M now hopes to receive approval of its transaction within 90 days.
“From the start of this process, the hope was to bring stability to The Westerly Hospital as soon as possible,” said Mark Russo, the Court-appointed special master in charge of the receivership process. “Now, we are one step closer to that reality – and we look forward to a swift conclusion.”
The Westerly Hospital filed for receivership in December 2011. In August 2012, Rhode Island Superior Court Associate Justice Brian Stern, the judge presiding over the receivership, approved L+M’s bid to buy The Westerly Hospital.