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Release Date: 12/18/2017
Memorial Hospital transition will ensure emphasis on primary care, specialty care, and access to ancillary services

Care New England (CNE) today further detailed plans for sustaining community-based care in Pawtucket as a result of the Memorial Hospital application for closure, while also expressing gratitude for the leadership and guidance provided by both the Governor’s Office and the cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls throughout this important time for residents of the Blackstone Valley.

Today’s announcement is the result of ongoing and extremely productive planning on the part of key state, cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls, United Nurses & Allied Professionals (UNAP) Local 5082, CNE, and local stakeholders who have all come together for the sole purpose of ensuring the best possible access to high quality care is maintained in Pawtucket. The plan for community care is highlighted here (click here for full plan):

Family Care and Internal Medicine Centers: Primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants will provide comprehensive health care services in the outpatient clinic setting. They will continue to treat general medical needs and provide care for a vast array of non-emergency health conditions. This also includes services currently provided in the Family Care Center by a nutritionist and psychologist, as well as preventive care and coordination of any specialty care patients need. Care will continue to be delivered in a way that is patient-centered, coordinated, and committed to quality and safety. Currently, the Family Care and Internal Medicine Centers have approximately 20,000 primary care patient visits per year.

Ancillary Services: There will be certain ancillary services commonly associated with primary care practices, such as plain-film X-rays (chest films and bone x-rays), mammograms, and phlebotomy services (blood draws for lab work). CNE is also finalizing plans for a diabetes education program.

Physician Specialties: Subject to retaining grant funding associated with research in pediatric neurodevelopment, CNE pediatrics and pediatric neurodevelopment practices will be maintained at 555 Prospect Street, Pawtucket. CNE also expects to make available rotating physician specialty consultations at its primary care site in Pawtucket, as appropriate, to complement the primary care practice. Other planned specialties currently include oncology, cardiology (including some cardiology testing), dermatology, pulmonary medicine, sleep medicine, and general and orthopedic surgery. CNE will also continue anticoagulation/Coumadin clinic services as currently provided.

Walk-in Clinic Services: CNE plans to provide walk-in services to help serve the needs of community members who need ready access to health care but do not require hospital-level care. This will be helped by CNE’s ability to access the physicians and ancillary services the system provides in Pawtucket and will address the needs of many patients who need quick access to care in the local community. Many patients who present in emergency departments do not require hospital-level care. CNE hopes to serve the needs of these patients who would otherwise have presented at an emergency department but are appropriate for outpatient primary care walk-in clinic services for injuries and ailments such as cuts, sprains and strains, minor traumas, cold, flu, and headache. The current plan is for a walk-in clinic to be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Those seeking care need not be existing patients of our physician practices to seek primary or urgent care on a walk-in basis and we will not turn away any patients based on insurance or ability to pay.

Residencies: Currently, the Family Care and Internal Medicine Centers serve as training sites for residency programs affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. CNE is seeking to transfer these residency programs and this affiliation from Memorial to Kent Hospital. This transfer will require approval by both the American College of Graduate Medical Education and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as by the Warren Alpert Medical School. CNE is hopeful that it will be able to obtain these approvals, and physician practice-based training for these residencies would continue to be done at the site in Pawtucket. There are currently 39 family medicine residents and 30 internal medicine residents training in these residency programs. Currently, CNE is reviewing the appropriate size of the programs to ensure an excellent experience for residents. CNE is working with Brown and the other providers of residency education to assure as many slots as possible remain in Rhode Island. CNE’s ability to retain these residencies will be key to plans to continue services in Pawtucket.

As CNE works to further develop and implement this plan it is important to note that the system will do so in an evaluative manner ensuring programs and services appropriately support shifts in patient volume, along with changes in grants and other funding streams. CNE constantly evaluates utilization of resources to ensure patients get the best care. Through these efforts and investments in staffing, facilities, and technology, CNE is able to stay ahead of health care trends and succeed in a volatile market.

Said James E. Fanale, MD, CNE executive vice president, chief operating officer, and chief clinical officer, “Today’s update to the community represents the collaboration and determination of CNE, the Governor’s Office, the Mayor of Pawtucket, and representatives from the union to ensure a comprehensive plan of care is developed and implemented. As we move forward with this plan, we do so with a patient- and community-centered focus demonstrating our commitment to the Blackstone Valley and health care throughout the entire state. This means we must adapt to the changes by moving towards the future of health care.”

Last month, Care New England’s Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island (MHRI) filed a reverse certificate of need application (RCON) to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to close MHRI’s inpatient and emergency department services. As Memorial currently provides an array of primary care office-based services under MHRI’s license, an additional RCON application has been filed to close the primary care services operating under that license. Subsequently, separate from the RCON application processing, CNE has filed several license permit applications to add Pawtucket locations as additional locations under the Kent County Memorial Hospital (Kent) and Women & Infants Hospital (W&I) licenses. CNE has been diligent in working with RIDOH during the regulatory process with the RCONs.

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