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Brown Calls on Raimondo to Release Partners Fundraiser Remarks, Return Donations

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

 

Matt Brown

Gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown is calling on Governor Gina Raimondo to release Partners fundraiser remarks and return all donations.

This comes after Raimondo attended a fundraiser on Friday in Boston co-hosted by Partners chairman emeritus Jack Connors.

Partners is in the process of merging with Care New England, one of the largest healthcare deals in state history.

A GoLocal story unveiled the Boston fundraiser which took in an estimated $200,000.

Brown released the following statement

Last Friday, Governor Raimondo attended a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser in Boston co-hosted by Jack Connors, the chairman emeritus of Partners HealthCare, and Anne Finucane, another board member of the out-of-state mega hospital group whose takeover of Care New England will ultimately come before state regulators for approval. 

Six months ago when the deal was first announced, Raimondo voiced concerns about the deal’s potential to take jobs and health care out of Rhode Island. She told a reporter at the time that she needed to be careful about what she said about the deal, “because we'll be the regulator in this ultimately.” 

But it seems she was willing to trade her commitment to being an impartial regulator in return for thousands of dollars in Partners campaign contributions. There are many unknowns about this possible deal: Will jobs leave Rhode Island? Will Rhode Island lose control of its local health care system?  Will Rhode Islanders lose access to specialized health care services? Will health care costs go up?  With so much at stake, how are the people of Rhode Island supposed to believe that Governor Raimondo is looking out for their interests when one of the parties to this mega-acquisition just raised thousands of dollars for her reelection effort?

The Governor’s fundraiser with Partners HealthCare whose buyout of Care New England would come before state regulators smacks of influence buying and pay-to-play politics.

This is part of a disturbing pattern. Previously, Raimondo took thousands from an energy company and its employees, then promised to make its proposed fracked gas power plant a reality despite deep opposition from the community and local officials. Like the Burrillville fracked-gas power plant, her administration will ultimately decide the fate of the Partners HealthCare deal - but Raimondo is fundraising from the executives of both companies.  

The Partners deal for Care New England is one of the largest healthcare deals in Rhode Island history. Raimondo’s participation in this thousand-dollar-a-plate breakfast for her sponsored by Partners board members raises significant questions. When did Raimondo schedule this fundraiser and what was promised? Who attended? How much did she raise? Did Raimondo promise to let the deal go forward? How can Rhode Islanders be sure their jobs, local control of their health care system and access to specialized health services wasn’t sold for $1,000 a plate? 

Rhode Islanders deserve answers. Raimondo should release her remarks from the event and immediately return the money.

 

Related Slideshow: 7 Implications and Unintended Consequences of a Care New England and Partners Merger

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Providence does not usually do well in mergers

Remember Providence Gas, Fleet Bank, and Narragansett Electric?

Big employers, deep community involvement, and significant charitable donors — all were consumed and in each case, the number of employees left in Rhode Island by the succeeding company is a fraction of the once independent venture.

To the victor goes the spoils.

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As if the Boston economy isn't good enough, and the Providence economy couldn't be more stagnant

The cityscape of Boston is littered with cranes. Boston Business Journal maps the construction projects utilizing cranes in Boston (see image) and the number of projects is staggering. 

In Providence, there few construction projects and not a crane to be seen. The last thing Providence needs is for another one of its largest employers to be merged into a Boston mega-organization. The likelihood is that jobs will be lost or consolidated to Boston - basic functions like purchasing, accounting, etc. will be lost. 

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Harvard beats Brown in Ivy League match-up

Harvard Medical School is ranked as the #1 research-based institution in America by U.S. News and World Report.

Partners Healthcare’s academic partner is Harvard.

In contrast, Care New England’s academic affiliation is with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Brown’s best ranking is 21st for primary care - and is ranked for research way back at #31.

One of the biggest losers in the merger could be Brown's medical school.

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Care New England is RI’s 2nd largest employer, so what will It be in 2 Years?

According to the RI Department of Labor and Training, Care New England is Rhode Island’s second largest employer.

Lifespan is the largest: 12,050

Care New England: 8,500

CVS: 7,800

Cities like "Meds and Eds" (the medical and educational business segments), but Providence and all of Rhode Island is likely to lose high paid, highly educated jobs as a result of this deal.

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Care New England Continues to Struggle

Despite hopes that closing Memorial Hospital would solve the financially beleaguered Care New England's economic woes, new financial documents unveil that CNE continues to struggle.

Additionally, the pursuer - Partners HealthCare - is also making cuts. The Boston Globe unveiled the Partners is cutting about 100 of the company’s tech workers that their jobs were being outsourced to India to cut costs.

“Many of the employees have worked for Partners for several years, or even decades, and are struggling with the company’s decision. Almost all are coders — people who scour patients’ medical records to pinpoint billable services — and earn upward of $40 an hour. Coders in India earn a fraction of that amount, making overseas coding an attractive way for hospitals to cut costs,” wrote the Boston Globe.

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Can the unions battle?

Within hours of GoLocal breaking the news of the merger, the United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) President Linda McDonald, RN, released the following statement today:

"This proposed merger has the ability to impact thousands of jobs and the quality of care in Rhode Island and should be thoroughly scrutinized. Like most Rhode Islanders, we only recently learned of this proposal but expect Care New England and Partners HealthCare to be transparent in their process and begin a conversation with our union about the effect any deal would have on our members and our patients.  

Memorial Hospital provides critical care to scores of Blackstone Valley residents every year and preserving its status as a fully-functioning community hospital will be among our top priorities as this process continues to unfold. 
The onus is now on Care New England, Partners HealthCare and Prime Healthcare Services to make the details of this proposal public and to do it quickly so that workers, patients and state regulators may begin asking the appropriate questions."

The nurses represents nearly 1,400 registered nurses, CNAs, ER techs, surgical techs, orderlies, endo techs, environmental employees and ancillary staff at Kent and Memorial hospitals.  But, will they have any impact on the decisions?
 

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Speaking of Lifespan - will they be forced to merge with a Boston partner?

Lifespan is having its financial challenges too. While Care New England lost $53 million last year, Lifespan's losses were $40 million. The Lifespan losses were smaller proportionately to the healthcare group's overall budget and it does not have the cash crunch that Care New England was battling.

In February, Lifespan announced it had has entered into another Boston Hospital agreement. This agreement with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a long term agreement with the goal of advancing cancer treatment and research. Lifespan previously entered into an agreement with New England Medical Center and that deal led to years of protracted litigation to unwind. Lifespan also ran into a legal battle with Tufts Medical Center.

Will Partners' potential arrival in the market force Lifespan to affiliate?

 
 

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