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Malloy executive order puts hospital affiliation on hold

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NEW LONDON – A proposed affiliation between Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and Yale New Haven Health System is on hold for now after Gov. Dan Malloy signed an executive order last week that places a moratorium on certain hospital mergers until January 2017.

The affiliation was announced last July, but several organizations representing health care workers have expressed concerns.

Those groups, including AFT Connecticut and the New England Health Care Employees Union, held a forum Thursday night to discuss those concerns. The forum was planned prior to Malloy signing the executive order.

It included speakers like Lisa D’Abrosca, president of the L+R Registered Nurses Union, who said she’s worried about New London losing control over its own health care decisions.

“People think it's a merger. It’s really not. The type of affiliation that's being proposed here is going to give Yale 100 percent of the control and there's really no checks and balances. If the local hospital wants something and Yale wants something else, it's going to be what Yale says no matter what,” said D’Abrosca, who has been a nurse at L+R for around 12 years.

Those opposed to the affiliation question if the same quality, price and access to care will be maintained if the deal moves forward.

The hospitals were not invited to participate in the forum, but vice president of development and community relations for L+R, Bill Stanley, decided to attend.

Stanley said, “We just wanted to hear first-hand what's being said, so that we'll have an opportunity going forward to address it.”

He said he was disappointed by comments made during the forum and felt the information given was misleading.

“There’s not a real good understanding of the kinds of challenges that modern healthcare faces,” said Stanley. “There was no mention in there of some of the cuts being made, hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements, hundreds of millions more in taxes that were imposed on hospitals state wide.”

Yale New Haven Health System Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Vin Petrini responded to the forum in a statement to FOX 61:

“We remain fully committed to the proposed affiliation with Lawrence + Memorial and we are exploring all of our options in wake of the Governor’s Executive Order which unfairly impacts Connecticut-based health systems.  Contrary to false assertions by organized labor, we have pledged to keep prices neutral as a result of this transaction and believe this affiliation will drive down costs and preserve access to high quality care.  Today, Yale New Haven pays more than $180 million State taxes.  In combination with historic Medicaid cuts, this type of affiliation is the best way to achieve financial stability in an uncertain environment.”