January 22, 2015

Tenet CEO says CT hospital deals could be revived

Trevor Fetter, Tenet Healthcare CEO

The CEO of Tenet Healthcare has penned a letter to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy saying that he is open to coming back to the negotiating table to acquire five Connecticut hospitals, but only if the state backs off some of its regulatory requirements.

In his Jan. 16 letter Trevor Fetter said several conditions would have to exist for Tenet to reopen talks to acquire Waterbury, St. Mary's, Bristol, Manchester Memorial, and Rockville General hospitals. Most importantly, Fetter wrote, any conditions placed on its deals must apply equally to all hospitals in the state as well as other organizations interested in buying a hospital in Connecticut, whether they are nonprofit or for-profit operators.

In December Tenet, a Texas-based for-profit operator, pulled out of its planned acquisition of Waterbury Hospital after state regulators issued 68 conditions on the purchase that barred layoffs and price increases for at least five years and mandated the appointment of an independent monitor and the filing of strategic spending and hiring plans.

In his letter, Fetter lamented Connecticut's tough regulatory environment and said his company only wants to operate in places "where we are wanted by the local communities."

Earlier this month, Malloy wrote a letter to Fetter urging him to send a Tenet representative to meet with Mark Ojakian, the governor's chief of staff. Malloy said he hoped the two sides could reach a "negotiated settlement" to revive the deals.

In response to Fetter's letter Ojakian said: "We are working towards an agreement for these transactions to move forward with the appropriate accountability measures to protect the Waterbury communities and the State of Connecticut. I look forward to working with Tenet, in good-faith negotiations, to come to a resolution to this matter."

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