Under Rhode Island law, significant healthcare transactions require this Office’s approval before they may proceed. Specifically, under the state’s Hospital Conversions Act, transfers of 20% or more of ownership, assets, membership interest, authority or control of a hospital require approval by the Attorney General. The proposed sale of Roger Williams and Fatima Hospitals announced today will thus require my Office’s approval before it may proceed.
I am well-aware of the important role that Roger Williams and Fatima Hospitals play in delivering high quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to Rhode Islanders, and recognize and appreciate the strong work of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals at those facilities. At this early point, this Office has minimal information regarding the proposed transaction. The Hospital Conversions Act now requires that the parties file a formal application for approval with this Office and the Department of Health. That application must contain, in great detail, all information necessary for this Office’s and the Department of Health’s review under the HCA. Past experience demonstrates that this application and review process will take many months.
In 2021, this Office engaged in a comprehensive review of another proposed transaction involving a change in ownership of Roger Williams and Fatima Hospitals. That process was lengthy and contentious. We ultimately approved that transaction, but only after imposing strong, unprecedented conditions that have ensured those hospitals’ continued financial viability and ability to deliver strong healthcare outcomes. Such caution was necessary then, and it remains necessary now. Accordingly, Rhode Islanders can expect the same type of approach from this Office with respect to this newly proposed transaction. Upon the parties’ filing of the required application for approval with this Office, our review will be comprehensive and far-reaching, and approval will be granted only if the proposed transaction meets all of the criteria of the Hospital Conversions Act and, ultimately, is in the best interests of Rhode Islanders.