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August 15, 2019

CT OKs Hartford HealthCare’s $244M Bridgeport acquisition

Photo | Wikimedia Commons St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport reported a nearly 2,800% increase in facility fees for 2019, but had the ninth highest overall fee total among Connecticut hospitals, according to the Office of Health Strategy.

State regulators on Thursday approved Hartford HealthCare’s $244 million acquisition of St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.

The Office of Health Strategy’s decision adds a seventh acute-care hospital to HHC, a system that has grown from just two in 2008. At 473 beds, it will be HHC’s second largest hospital. 

The acquisition also includes St. Vincent’s Multispecialty Group, which has approximately 250 providers that would join HHC’s own medical group.

In all, HHC said it is absorbing approximately 3,200 employees or associates.

The seller is Ascension, which has owned St. Vincent’s for 20 years. The transfer is slated to close Oct. 1.

It will be HHC’s first hospital in Fairfield County, though it has already established some offerings in the region, including primary and specialty care, and a recent affiliation with Visiting Nurses of Connecticut in Bridgeport.

“Fairfield County needs a vibrant St. Vincent’s Medical Center — one that’s an essential part of an overall, highly connected system of care,” Jeffrey A. Flaks, HHC’s president and soon-to-be CEO, said in a statement. “As part of Hartford HealthCare, St. Vincent’s patients will have access to more programs and services, excellent care coordination and a truly statewide focus on quality and safety — on and off the main hospital campus.”

The “agreed settlement” with OHS calls for HHC to make capital investments totaling $135 million over seven years to upgrade IT systems, facilities and equipment, and to expand ambulatory care.

The deal expands access to primary and specialty care services in the region, including subspecialties like transplants and endovascular surgery.

OHS attached some strings to its approval, including a requirement that limits cost growth for three years.

It’s the third hospital deal in Connecticut this year to include the cap, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index.

“Healthcare is a fundamental right—it must be high-quality, accessible, and affordable for individuals and our business community,” OHS Executive Director Vicki Veltri said. “Unfortunately, here in Connecticut and across the nation we see the high cost of care outpace what consumers can afford.”
She said the cost cap provision is meant to “keep costs in check” and improve the value of care for St. Vincent’s patients.
St. Vincent’s will also be required to increase its participation in alternative payment models, which, unlike health care’s dominant “fee for service” model, reimburse providers based on quality and outcomes for a group of patients.

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