L&M completes important phase of Westerly Hospital acquisition

Lawrence & Memorial Corp. last week completed the next significant phase of the process toward closing on its acquisition of The Westerly Hospital, L&M announced today.

Regulatory filings, which are required by the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Attorney General, were made Nov. 2. Rhode Island law requires that any hospital ownership change receive approval from both the Attorney General's office and the Department of Health by making a Change of Effective Control application and also completing filings under the state's Hospital Conversion Act. The applications are the first to be made under a new process available in Rhode Island that is directed at expediting the regulatory review for a Rhode Island hospital that is financially distressed and is being acquired by another nonprofit hospital.

R.I. Director of Health Dr. Michael Fine notified the parties in September that his office would provide an expedited review of the conversion process. Under the expedited process, L&M hopes to receive approval of its transaction within 90 days of the application being accepted as complete by the regulatory agencies.

"We are eager to move the process forward," Bruce Cummings, L&M president and chief executive officer said in a news release. "We are pleased that state officials agreed to consider this review on an expedited basis. I look forward to working with the regulators to advance the process as quickly as possible for the benefit of the community and the stability of the Hospital."

Attorney Mark Russo, the special master for the Westerly Hospital receivership process, said the closing is expected to take place in early 2013.

"The Westerly Hospital has been – and continues to be – a vital part of the greater Westerly-Pawcatuck community," Russo said. "An expedited review will provide stability to all in the community – especially patients."

The Westerly Hospital filed for receivership in December 2011. In August 2012, Rhode Island Superior Court Associate Justice Brian Stern approved L&M's bid to buy The Westerly Hospital.


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