Concerns from community as sale of Waterbury Hospital approaches one year anniversary

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — After more than 125 years, concerns regarding a not-for-profit hospital are growing among religious leaders in the area that the hospital’s reputation as a community-based facility is changing.

Pastor Rodney Wade with the Long Hill Bible Church said the hospital was built with the nickels and dimes from congregations all over the area. Wade is a member of the Naugatuck Valley Project, also known as NVP. On Tuesday night, they met with the public to discuss those concerns.

“Our position is not transactional. Our position is relational. It’s very important to us as pastors. It benefits our church, it benefits the hospital when people are well, when people are healed,” said Wade.

Waterbury Hospital was purchased by Prospect Medical Holdings for $43.3 million in October of 2016. The company is based out of California. Members of the NVP say since the sale they have found five key areas in operations they believe are in danger, the first being a lack of diversity on the hospital’s advisory board.

“The board is compromised of about 12 people, one of which is African American, one is female and they’re both the same person,” said another member of the NVP.

With such a diverse population in Waterbury, the fear is that hospital leaders will not be able to identify with the people they serve.

Other concerns include high readmission rates, cuts in staffing, a lack of sufficient pastoral care and whether or not patients will be turned away if they can’t pay.

“We have a concern for our congregation, the people in our congregation and we have heard, we have heard those concerns in the terms of the change that is happening,” said Wade.

The clergy says attempts to discuss the issues with the CEO and other executives have fallen flat. A hospital representative at Tuesday’s meeting said that is not the case.

“We hit the ground running with Prospect Medical Holdings and we have expanded some of our community programs and outreach and we’ve expanded some services into the community,” said Patty Charvat, Director of Public Affairs and Community Outreach for the hospital.

Charvat said the hospital is planning a major renovations and addition to their emergency department which currently serves more than 50,000 people per year.

“They’ve invested millions of dollars in our campus,” said Charvat. “We will definitely be here and taking care of our community and listening to their concerns.”

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