A Catholic-run health care system has withdrawn its application to affiliate with Day Kimball Healthcare, an independent, financially struggling hospital and health care system in northeastern Connecticut.
Covenant Health's decision to terminate its agreement with Day Kimball in Putnam comes weeks before the state's Office of Health Strategy was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the planned merger.
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"As part of our due diligence as we prepared for the public hearing, we became aware of new and updated information that resulted in our decision to not move forward," said Karen R. Sullivan, vice president of marketing and chief communications officer for Massachusetts-based Covenant Health.
The proposed merger had raised concerns among residents and Attorney General William Tong about the fate of reproductive health and other services in the mostly rural region of Connecticut that may be at odds with the Ethical and Religious Directives set by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, an issue that has come to light in other states as well.
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Sullivan said in an email that Covenant's decision to withdraw its application "had nothing to do with" the directives.
Day Kimball CEO Kyle Kramer, in a memo sent to employees, said the hospital has begun "pursuing the best path forward" and planned to work with local and state officials to preserve essential hospital services in the region, including "exploring discussions with other potential partners." He noted that Covenant, like other health care providers, has faced financial difficulties since the pandemic and that may have contributed to its decision to withdraw.