State AG Should Investigate Health Quest Plan to Close Sharon Hospital Maternity Ward
For immediate release.
For more information contact Maria Horn, firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-671-1026
JULY 2 — Over the last few days, Health Quest (whose purchase of Sharon Hospital was approved in early 2017) has abruptly signaled its intention to close the maternity ward at Sharon Hospital. The doctors and nurses directly involved learned late last week that the unit would be closed as early as July 24. As late as 10:30 this morning, hospital staff members were informed that the ward would be closed at a “date to be determined.” The nurses in the ward were given exit interviews on Friday.
Many expectant mothers learned about this on social media, and there is still no public written statement from Health Quest explaining the decision or its rationale. There was no community outreach or discussion preceding this significant decision.
When Health Quest purchased Sharon Hospital, the acquisition was approved by the state subject to a Certificate of Need (CON) in which Health Quest made a series of explicit commitments to both Sharon Hospital and to our community. One of those promises was that they would not close existing services at Sharon Hospital for at least three years. This abrupt closure seems to violate that commitment, so I am calling for the state’s Attorney General to investigate.
Maintaining high-quality health care in rural communities like the Northwest Corner requires solving complex problems. It’s challenging, but we have significant and dedicated resources, including hospitals, medical professionals, and nonprofits dedicated to community health.
Our local community, led by the Foundation for Community Health (FCH), has demonstrated its willingness to provide precious community resources to support the development of solutions for Sharon Hospital. As evidence of this, FCH provided $3 million of grant funding to Health Quest for the acquisition of Sharon Hospital and up to $6 million earmarked for the needs of Sharon Hospital. If Health Quest would openly address concerns over how best to support women’s health in the Northwest Corner, I am certain a productive conversation could begin.
We urgently need to get to the bottom of this, and support our local community in getting access to information from Health Quest to understand the full context of the decision. In that way, we can (1) have the opportunity to explore potential solutions in collaboration with Sharon Hospital and other stakeholders, including FCH and community representatives, to develop quality women’s healthcare services on a financially sustainable basis, and (2) hold Health Quest accountable for its commitments to our community.
The Attorney General’s investigation into this matter at Sharon Hospital has larger implications for the State of Connecticut than just the 64th district. Health Quest has announced its intention to merge with the Western Connecticut Healthcare Network to create a vast network serving 1.5 million people across two states. Health Quest’s integrity, transparency, and commitment to its communities could have implications for a wide swath of citizens in Connecticut.
STATEMENT FROM SHARON OGBYN July 3 9:45 AM
Sharon Obgyn statement:
Dear Patients and Community,
The providers at Sharon Obgyn became aware of the planned closing of the maternity unit at the same time as the public. Neither the practice nor the state have received any written communication. We suspect this was leaked out prior to any decisions being made. Thanks to our combined efforts, Healthquest quickly realized this is not the best course of action and have retracted their stance since.
We will continue to work with all parties to ensure safe, convenient and quality women’s health care. We have the best interests of women in this community at heart and will continue to provide quality obstetrical and gynecological care regardless of the outcome of this issue.