Don’t delay Memorial closing

A lawsuit filed earlier this month by the United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5082 seeking a special master to oversee Care New England’s closure of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island seems intended only to delay the inevitable at a facility that has been hemorrhaging red ink.

That the 294-bed Pawtucket hospital must close is painful for its employees and a community that has grown accustomed to its presence. But the need for closure is undeniable. The average daily inpatient census of 15-20 patients resulted in an unsustainable $23 million operating loss in fiscal 2017.

The union local’s contention that the state is somehow colluding with Care New England to circumvent state law on the closure smacks of self-interest, at a time when cooperation would serve the public’s interest.

Hospitals can’t operate effectively while drowning in red ink. The longer they try or are forced to do so, the more untenable the cost to the rest of the health care system becomes.

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