WOONSOCKET â€“ Itâ€™s time for the public to weigh in on Steward Health Care Systemâ€™s offer to buy Landmark Medical Center.
The two state agencies in charge of approving the sale have announced that they have begun accepting written comments on the proposal.
In a joint statement, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and David Fine, director of the state Department of Health, said an open hearing has also been scheduled for the purpose of disseminating information about the proposed sale and gathering feedback on it from interested parties.
The hearing will be held in two sessions, on April 9, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at City Hall, 169 Main St.
The two agencies are required to hold the session as part of the review process set forth under the Hospital Conversions Act. The law calls for a decision on the application within 180 days of its initial receipt by the two agencies, which occurred on Jan. 17.
The application is available for review at www.health.ri.gov/programs/hospitalconversionsmerger/.
Written comments will be accepted by the attorney general and DOH until 4 p.m. on April 16. They may be submitted at the informational meetings or forwarded to Jodi Bourque, Health Care Advocate, Office of the Attorney General, 150 South Main St., Providence, RI, 02903; or Michael Dexter, Office of Health System Development, Department of Health, Three Capital Hill, Room 404, Providence, RI, 02908.
Landmark filed for receivership in June 2008, saying it was on the brink of bankruptcy and that its only hope for survival as a freestanding community-based hospital would be to merge with a sound health care partner.
Boston-based Steward Health Care is a for-profit company built from the former Caritas Christi Health Care. The company was formed in 2010 with an initial acquisition of six major hospitals in Massachusetts and has since gone on to acquire four more.
Though the company says it will lay off some 90 workers at Landmark, Steward has pledged to pump at least $30 million into the hospital over the next five years for capital improvements, new technology and physician recruitment. Despite the layoffs, the United Nurses and Allied Professionals, which represents nearly half the hospitalâ€™s roughly 1,200-member workforce, strongly supports Stewardâ€™s acquisition of the hospital.