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Nurses' Union Sues Over Memorial Hospital Closures

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A nurses’ union has sued Memorial Hospital’s parent company, Care New England, to try to maintain obstetrics and other services at the Pawtucket-based...

A nurses’ union has sued Memorial Hospital’s parent company, Care New England, to try to maintain obstetrics and other services at the Pawtucket-based community hospital. They're asking regulators to look for more alternatives to maintaining the hospital as it is.

Nurses' union representatives insist Memorial Hospital is doing more than wait for approval to close its obstetrics, or OB, unit. They allege the hospital is already winding down other services like primary care and intensive care. And that is a violation of state regulations, says United Nurses and Allied Professionals’ Chris Collaci.

“There’s no mystery that this is about more than closing OB. Care New England says they’re going to close the ICU. Care New England says they’re going to reduce the beds in med-surg. Care New England says they’re going to reduce services in the emergency department. These things are already in motion, turning a full service, acute care community hospital at the end of the day into a grouping of outpatient clinics.”

But Care New England spokesman Gerard Goulet says there’s no plan to close the hospital. 

“There’s no requirement under the rules and regulations for the licensing of hospitals requiring a community hospital to maintain an obstetrics unit. The hospital is still working with Care New England to evaluate what that structure will be at the end of the day, but clearly it will still remain a community hospital in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.”

Still, Goulet says Care New England must shift Memorial’s inpatient obstetrics services to Women and Infants and Kent Hospitals to stem multi-million dollar financial losses at Memorial Hospital, which could reach $70 million by September.

Memorial Hospital wants to transfer inpatient obstetrics services to other hospitals in the Care New England system; many employees and former patients are speaking out against the plan
Memorial Hospital wants to transfer inpatient obstetrics services to other hospitals in the Care New England system; many employees and former patients are speaking out against the plan