Tenet decides against buying Connecticut hospitals

The Constitution State is not for Tenet Healthcare. The Dallas-based for-profit hospital chain has pulled out of its bid to acquire five financially ailing hospitals in Connecticut, the Hartford Courant reported.

Tenet objected to conditions of the sale attached by the state's Office of Health Care Access for one facility, not-for-profit Waterbury Hospital. They included strict guidelines regarding staffing, prices and services provided, according to the Courant.

"The extensive list of proposed conditions to be imposed on the Waterbury Hospital transaction, which is only the first of four transactions for which we've made applications, has led us to conclude that the approach to regulatory oversight in Connecticut would not enable Tenet to operate the hospitals successfully for the benefit of all stakeholders," the company said in a statement that it posted on its website last week. Tenet further said it would no longer try to acquire Saint Mary's Hospital, Bristol Hospital and the Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which owns Rockville General and Manchester Memorial hospitals.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen disagreed with Tenet, but noted that its decision to pull out of the pending deals "raises substantial and immediate questions about the future of healthcare delivery in some of our communities," according to the Courant. "Those questions deserve the closest attention of policymakers at the local and state levels."

Waterbury was previously planning to merge with St. Mary's Hospital, but decided its religious directives regarding healthcare services were too restrictive. The management at the financially distressed Waterbury suggested to the Courant that it would resort to layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to keep the facility operating.

Meanwhile, Brendan Sharkey (D), the Connecticut House speaker, said it was unlikely the state Legislature would resort to a taxpayer bailout of its hospitals.

"I'm not sure that we should be in the business of saving every hospital that runs into financial trouble,'' Sharkey told the Courant. "It's a new world out there now with regard to hospital policy."

To learn more:
- read the Hartford Courant article on the Tenet pullout
- check out the Hartford Courant article on Waterbury Hospital's options