Care New England posts $13.9M operating loss, moves to sell Memorial Hospital

Providence, R.I.-based Care New England recorded a $13.9 million operating loss in the last three months of 2016, $10 million more than the health system previously estimated, according to WPRI.com

Care New England said the loss was the result of decreased patient volume, especially at the system's Providence-based Women & Infants Hospital and Warwick, R.I.-based Kent Hospital, according to the report. The deficit also trails the system's $53 million net loss in the previous fiscal year.

As a result of the nonprofit system's finances, Care New England officials are speeding up efforts to sell Pawtucket, R.I.-based Memorial Hospital, the report states. Memorial has struggled financially since Care New England acquired it in 2013. The hospital saw operating losses of $9.3 million in the last months of fiscal year 2015 and $6 million in the final three months of 2016.

Care New England President and CEO Dennis Keefe said during a conference call last week the system has received one offer for Memorial and anticipates more. He said Care New England officials aim to have a preliminary deal to sell the hospital ahead of the system's board meeting March 23. 

Overall, Mr. Keefe said the system's quarterly results are "disappointing" and "disturbing." He said further cuts to the system's workforce, which totals about 8,000 employees, will likely be announced in coming weeks, according to the report.

The system is also looking for an operator to partner with or take over the organization, the report states. The decision comes after Care New England and New Bedford, N.H.-based Southcoast Health voted to end their agreement to affiliate in October 2016.

Mr. Keefe said it is more likely a for-profit entity will take over Care New England, although the system is considering several options, according to WPRI.com. He said roughly 12 regional and national operators have expressed interest in the system. 

"We're optimistic that something positive will come out of this," Mr. Keefe said. "Compared to the Southcoast process, I think this is moving incredibly quickly." 

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