Oct 29, 2013

Lisa Baldelli Hunt

Rep. Baldelli-Hunt applauds approval of Landmark sale

Category: News Room
Posted by: Craig

Rep. Baldelli-Hunt applauds approval of Landmark sale

State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt today applauded the final state approval of the sale of Landmark Medical Center by Prime Healthcare Services and called it a "huge win" for the people of Woonsocket.

"I am thrilled that the state approvals are all in place," said Baldelli-Hunt (D-District 49, Woonsocket). "This is a big win for the people of our city, who can have peace of mind that first-rate health care will still be available without traveling to Providence, especially in an emergency where every minute is critical. It is also very gratifying that the city's second largest employer, with 1,100 workers, will remain vibrant and continue to offer good-paying jobs for the many city residents who are employed at Landmark and its rehabilitation facility."

Legislation enacted in 2012 amended the Hospital Conversions Act to make it less burdensome on for-profit companies, like Prime Healthcare, when applying to purchase a hospital. The Senate version of that legislation (2012-S2180 Sub B) was sponsored by Senator Roger A. Picard, and Baldelli-Hunt voted in favor of the House version (2012-H7283 Sub A).

"Senator Picard deserves a great deal of credit for his dedication to fighting on behalf of Landmark,” Baldelli-Hunt said. “He has been our point person on behalf of the entire Woonsocket delegation on this issue."

Baldelli-Hunt pointed out that once Prime becomes the owner, as a for-profit operation it will be required to pay real estate taxes to the city on property currently assessed at $27.3 million.

"At a time when our city is suffering severe financial hardships, the taxes that will be paid by Prime will be extremely beneficial," she stated. "Prime will not only be paying significant taxes, but it has pledged to be a good community citizen and provide charitable care at a time when our city needs important partners. Prime’s pledge to invest $30 million to upgrade the facilities will add to the property’s taxable value."

Baldelli-Hunt praised both the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Office of the Attorney General for granting the needed approvals under the state's Hospital Conversions Act.

Pending the final sale expected to close before the end of 2013, Prime will be the first for-profit hospital ownership in Rhode Island. The sale will end 5½ years of bankruptcy for the hospital.

Baldelli-Hunt offered testimony to both the Department of Health and Attorney General in favor of the sale. At a Health Department subcommittee hearing in Providence on September 17, she was the only elected official to testify, and she also spoke at a public hearing held at Woonsocket High School on September 30.

On May 9, Representatives Baldelli-Hunt, Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket) and Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket) invited House Speaker Gordon D. Fox to a meeting at Landmark with hospital president Richard Charest. Fox offered his full support for the hospital on behalf of the state.