Formal application filed to close Memorial Hospital

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Care New England announced Thursday it has formally submitted an application to the R.I. Department of Health to close Memorial Hospital, though it remains unclear when the facility will actually shut its doors.

Care New England took ownership of the long-struggling hospital in 2013, but announced in October it would be shutting down. Memorial posted an operating loss of $23 million in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

According to hospital officials, the application advises the Department of Health that Memorial plans to cease operations as a licensed inpatient hospital and requests approval for elimination of the Emergency Department and certain other services.

Following the hospital’s closure, Care New England said it will provide “certain community-based primary and specialty care services” in Pawtucket. The company said it’s also working on a transition plan to help the hospital’s hundreds of employees find other jobs elsewhere at Care New England.

“Today’s submission to the Department of Health represents a required and critically important step in the process Care New England carefully outlined recently,” said Dr. James Fanale, Care New England’s chief operating officer and incoming CEO. “While we move forward with this difficult, yet necessary decision, we do so with compassion for those affected and the utmost respect for the legacy of care and community that Memorial has stood for throughout its history, while striving to ensure access to care throughout the service area.”

The application says the hospital is at just 9.3 percent occupancy, and is no longer financially viable.

“Due to service readiness, staffing, and operational requirements to meet licensure conditions, Memorial loses approximately $2 million per month,” the application states. “Given such under-utilization and unsustainable chronic financial losses, Memorial cannot continue to adequately staff and deliver patient care services in a clinically safe and financially viable manner and intends to cease all operations as soon as possible.”

The application also says upcoming job fairs are scheduled for impacted employees.

“Memorial and CNE look forward to the continued assistance of, and plan to collaborate with, state and local leaders and other area medical facilities to find jobs for employees in non-CNE facilities if suitable positions are not available within CNE,” the application states. “CNE appreciates the current and ongoing efforts of Governor Raimondo and other community leaders to secure commitments from other health system leaders to assist Memorial Hospital employees to find suitable employment following the closure of Memorial.”