Rhode Island News Briefs, Sept. 2, 2016

Westerly Hospital affiliation with Yale New Haven

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott have approved transferring control of Westerly Hospital to Yale-New Haven Health Services. The approval comes amid mounting losses by Westerly Hospital and its parent, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital of New London, CT. Yale New Haven has promised to invest $300 million in improvements at the 125-bed Westerly Hospital, in a variety of areas. The Health Department’s approval requires Westerly Hospital to fulfill certain conditions, including submission of a plan for primary care with oral health and behavioral health care, according to the Providence Journal. Meanwhile in Connecticut, hearings have recently been held at which concerns were raised whether the quality of services would decline with a Yale New Haven takeover of Lawrence and Memorial. Westerly Hospital has faced several challenges since its purchase by Lawrence and Memorial. It gave up its birthing center to South County Health (South County Hospital), Rhode Island’s only independent hospital. Occupancy at Westerly Hospital has averaged 35 beds, and South County Health has opened a significant outpatient facility in Westerly.

State budget surplus $44 million higher than expected

The state’s budget surplus for the fiscal year ended June 30 reached $167.2 million, $44 million higher than expected, according to state controller Peter Keenan, and reported by WPRI TV. Keenan said general revenues were up $29 million and expenditures were down $24 million. Chief among the reasons for the increased surplus was a jump in revenue from inheritance and gift taxes to $70 million, well above the $25 million that was forecast.

Independent investigation says 61 were sexually abused at St. George’s

The report comes a month after the school agreed to settle claims by 30 former students who had alleged incidents of sexual abuse. The report was commissioned by SGS for Healing, an alumni survivor group, and St. George’s. The report covers 1972 to 1979 and reports abuse by 10 faculty and staff. The report was also critical of how the school dealt with allegations, characterizing the school’s actions as “serious misjudgment” to “callous indifference.”

Award winning novelist Bruce DeSilva to visit Rhode Island next week

Bruce DeSilva, an award winning journalist at the Providence Journal and elsewhere, and now an Edgar Award winning novelist, will be in Rhode Island next week to promote his fifth Mulligan series book, “The Dread Line.” The books track the career of Mulligan, an investigative reporter at the Providence Dispatch, who in the latest book is no longer at the paper.

Bruce will be at Loontjens Memorial Library, 35 Kingstown Rd., Narragansett, RI, Sept. 07, 06:30 PM; Readmore Books, 330 Winthrop St., Taunton, MA, Sept. 08, 5:30 PM; and Providence Public Library, 150 Empire St., Providence, Sept. 21, 6:30 PM.

In The Dread Line, Bruce said, “the New England Patriots, still shaken by a series of murder charges against one of their star players (true story) have hired Mulligan and McCracken (not a true story) to investigate the background of a college star they are thinking of drafting. At first, the job seems routine, but as soon as they begin asking questions, they get push-back. The player has something to hide, and someone is willing to kill to make sure it remains secret.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.