Speakers support Milford Hospital acquisition by Bridgeport Hospital

Michael Rea, a carpenter and mechanic at Milford Hospital, told the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy this week that he wholly supports the acquisition of Milford Hospital by Bridgeport Hospital.
“I believe I speak not only for myself, but also my co-workers when I say the potential for millions of dollars being invested into our campus to support and improve the physical plant and infrastructure through building, renovations and maintenance is very exciting,” Rea told the panel.
Karen Santos, manager in central supply, told the state officials that for the first time in many years she is feeling optimistic about the future of the hospital and her fellow employees.
“In the last nine months I have heard repeated references to our future growth, not downsizing and investments, not cutting,” she said. “These are words that I have not heard in a long time. It’s very exciting.”
Hospital staff, as well as Milford’s mayor and the city’s representatives in Hartford, were among those who spoke in favor of Bridgeport Hospital acquiring Milford Hospital at a hearing Tuesday, March 26.
The Connecticut Office of Health Strategy held the public hearing in Orange for a certificate of need application that would transfer ownership of Milford Health and Medical, Inc., the parent company of Milford Hospital, to Bridgeport Hospital, a member of the Yale New Haven Health System.
Under the plan, Bridgeport Hospital would operate Milford Hospital as a satellite hospital location. Milford Hospital will cease to operate, but instead would be the Milford Campus of Bridgeport Hospital.
State Senator James Maroney joined State Reps. Kim Rose, Charles Ferraro and Kathy Kennedy to give public testimony in favor of allowing the asset purchase agreement.
“For almost a century, Milford Hospital has been a pillar in our community, caring for us and our neighbors, and employing our friends and family,” said Maroney. “This partnership is necessary to save Milford Hospital and the jobs of its hard-working staff, who work tirelessly to save the lives of individuals in our community every day.”
Milford Hospital is one of the largest employers in the City of Milford, with more than 700 employees and estimated payroll of $38 million, according to hospital officials.
Without the purchase agreement, Maroney said it is likely Milford Hospital would be forced to close. The hospital has been struggling financially for a number of years due to changes in the world of healthcare.
Lawmakers said this is a win-win for patients, the hospital, region and Milford community.
“Milford Hospital employs many of our residents and offers critical care services to our community,” Rose said. “This merger will ensure that we retain jobs and can continue to offer premier medical services to our community.”
Kennedy said the hospital’s long term financial stability is paramount, and Ferraro said losing Milford Hospital would have a significant negative impact on the community.
“I hope this transfer is approved,” Ferraro said.
Last September Yale New Haven Health, Bridgeport Hospital and Milford Hospital boards of trustees voted to pursue the acquisition of Milford Hospital by Bridgeport Hospital.
The March 26 hearing in Orange was a step in the regulatory review process that would allow that to happen.
According to a spokesperson from the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy, the public comment portion of the hearing will remain open until April 2. Once the record is closed the office will have 60 days to render a decision.
Milford Hospital Spokesman Karen Kipfer said she only heard positive comments about the acquisition during the hearing. She said staff is excited and looks at the proposal more as an “integration” of the hospitals rather than an acquisition. “I think we went from being nervous to having a really shared optimism about this,” Kipfer said.
Under the proposal, the Milford Campus will remain an acute care hospital. In addition, Bridgeport Hospital/Yale New Haven Health System has committed to developing and expanding clinical programs and services based on the needs of the community, Kipfer said.
“The specifics of the growth will be determined through a fully integrated operating and strategic plan which is currently being developed,” Kipfer said.
Members of the public may submit comments regarding the acquisition plan by emailing CONcomment@ct.gov. The docket number is 18-32270-CON.