The Rhode Island Department of Health has found Lawrence & Memorial Hospital's application to acquire Westerly Hospital complete, L&M announced this week.
The finding marks the latest step in the Lawrence & Memorial Corporation's effort to take over the assets of Westerly Hospital. The $69 million bid would institute a $30 million, five-year capital plan; assume the hospital's $22 million debt; and create $6.5 million in capital funds. The department has up to 90 days to review the application.
“This is a significant and welcome step,” Bruce D. Cummings, president and chief executive officer of L&M, said in a statement. “We look forward now to working further with state regulators and with the special master to bring this transaction to a quick closing so we can provide stability to the Westerly Hospital and the communities it serves."
L&M made initial regulatory filings, as required by the Rhode Island Department of Health and Rhode Island Attorney General, on Nov. 2. Both offices must approve the change of effective control application and other filings per the state's Hospital Conversion Act. L&M's applications were the first to be made under a new expedited process allowing approvals to take place within 90 days of the departments determining that the applications are complete.
“From the start of this process, the hope was to bring stability to the Westerly Hospital as soon as possible,” said Mark Russo, a court-appointed special master who is overseeing the acquisition process. “Now, we are one step closer to that reality – and we look forward to a swift conclusion.”
Westerly Hospital filed for receivership in December of 2011. Rhode Island Superior Court Associate Justice Brian Stern approved L&M's bid in August. L&M was one of three entities expressing interest in acquiring the hospital.
“The Westerly Hospital has provided great care for generations,” Cummings said. “That won't change – nor does our commitment for again making it a strong and viable community hospital.”
L&M is looking to complete the acquisition this year.