For-profit hospital deals get lax rules in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee has allowed a bill to become law that would greatly relax restrictions on hospital ownership by for-profit entities, reported The Providence Journal.

Chaffee had originally aired his intention to veto the bill, but instead did not take any action, allowing it to become law, the Valley Breeze reported.

The bill will allow for-profit hospital operators to acquire facilities without a three-year waiting period between transactions. Additionally, it speeds up the review process for closing a transaction from 180 days to 120 days, cut to 90 days if the facility is under financial duress, noted the Valley Breeze.

The legislation was originally intended to allow Massachusetts-based Steward Health Care to purchase the financially struggling Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, according to the Associated Press.

However, Chaffee has raised other concerns about the legislation, according to the Providence Journal. Specifically, he is worried about for-profit buyers keeping promises to preserve charity care and other community benefits, as well as subjecting the actions of state regulators to court review.

As a result, Chaffee said he would introduce legislation that would lift the judicial review requirement, the Journal noted.

For more:
- read the Valley Breeze article
- here's the Providence Journal article
- read the Associated Press article