New Caritas Christi CEO Ralph de la Torre unveils plan during May 22 Coalition to Strengthen Carney Hospital meeting
As a result of efforts initiated by MNA members that developed into a coalition of residents and elected officials with the sole purpose to save Carney Hospital, new Caritas Christi CEO Ralph de la Torre announced on May 22 that Carney Hospital will remain open as an acute care facility.
The future of Carney Hospital has been in question. Caritas commissioned a consultant, Wellspring Partners, to study the hospital’s future. In the meantime, Attorney General Martha Coakley came out with a report recommending that it be shut down or turned into a psychiatric hospital. The nurses at Carney Hospital began visiting the community meetings in Dorchester and signed up hundreds of citizens to a Coalition to Save Carney Hospital. After the Attorney General’s report was issued, other community groups came together to form the Coalition to Strengthen Carney Hospital. The MNA joined this coalition.
The Coalition scheduled a community meeting for the night of May 22, which was intended to be a vehicle for community members to speak out and make their views heard by Caritas Christi. They want their community hospital to stay open. About 100 people attended the meeting. Dan Driscoll from Harbor Health started it off and then had Rep. Marty Walsh and Councilor Maureen Feeney speak. Then a surprise guest was announced. It was Ralph de la Torre – the new Caritas CEO. He came to the front of the room and announced that Carney will stay open as an acute care hospital! He received a standing ovation – the crowd, especially the elderly, were thrilled.
The Wellspring consultant’s report was released simultaneously by Caritas and can be found on www.caritaschristi.org. However Dr. de la Torre stated that regardless of the findings of the report he was determined to keep Carney open before he even took the job as CEO. He met with the Cardinal at the beginning of May and got his agreement to keep the hospital open.
Dr. de la Torre said his priority was to get the funds to rebuild the hospital’s infrastructure. He also is focusing on bring in new doctors, especially specialists. In addition, he will work to change the compensation structure so that a doctor doing a procedure at Carney (or any Caritas hospital) will get the same reimbursement as he or she would performing the procedure at another facility. He also said that Caritas would provide funds to “supplement” the hospital and that they weren’t trying to make a profit from Carney. He said there would be no more layoffs.
All of the legislators are committed to getting at least $4 million dollars from the state this year. Dr. de la Torre said that this money would be used to improve infrastructure. So the work of the Coalition to Strengthen Carney Hospital continues on but from a much stronger position!