NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- The city of New Haven now has one of the largest hospitals in the U.S., with the integration of Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of St. Raphael.
A packed crowd watched as the papers were signed by heads of both hospitals.
A standing ovation followed as Yale-New Haven Hospital officially acquired the Hospital of St. Raphael.
Yale-New Haven needed more patient beds, and some five blocks over St. Raphael was financially unstable. Together, there is a new vision.
"It's to focus on how we can improve access to various services for people," said Marna Borgstrom, CEO & President of Yale-New Haven Hospital, "how we can standardize and enhance patient quality in safety, and how we can manage the cost increases in health care."
"We've had a long and wonderful collaborative relationship with Yale-New Haven over a period of time, but it was a new day and we knew we had to do something different,"said Christopher O'Connor, President & CEO of Hospital of St. Raphael.
Yale-New Haven says the move could help drive down the cost of health care.
"We're both great organizations, but we're running some very high intensive services five blocks apart that doesn't add value necessarily to patients, but it does add cost," said Borgstrom.
The acquisition also makes Yale-New Haven the fourth largest hospital in the country.
"Scale is going to be important to reducing cost," Borgstrom said, "scale is going to be important to defining high standards in consistent standards for patient safety in clinical quality and scale is going to be important for contracting with three party payers."
For St. Raphael it is the end of a rich 105 year history, started by the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth.
"The legacy was built on doing what was best for this community, which is why we embrace with such certainty the opportunity to integrate with Yale-New Haven," said Sister Rosemary Moynihan, Chair of St. Raphael Healthcare Board of Trustees. "There is enormous optimism for the future knowing that our mission of caring will continue with distinction."
With Yale-New Haven investing to upgrade and update St. Raphael both sides say the agreement is about growth for the future, forging a new history together.
As expected, initially there will be jobs lost, estimated at less than 200.
Other hospital systems across Connecticut have expanded as well, but Connecticut HealthCare Advocate Vicki Veltri tells me her concern is this:
"Consolidating the market place could enable these major hospital systems to drive a harder bargain on the cost of health care. So it comes with it, a duty and responsibility to ensure that indeed, it leads to increased quality of care, better patient outcomes and cost of care is affordable."
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