Future uncertain for Day Kimball Hospital

Uncertain future for Day Kimball Hospital
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 5:04 PM EDT
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PUTNAM, CT (WFSB) - The future is uncertain for the only hospital in the northeast corner of Connecticut. Covenant Health announced this week it is pulling out of a deal to affiliate with Day Kimball Hospital.

Day Kimball executives had been working on the deal since 2020. The hospital has been serving the northeast corner of the state for more than 120 years.

Tammy Eldridge works nearby at Floral and Gifts of OWC. She doesn’t know where else she would go in an emergency.

“You know when you need a hospital, you need it quickly,” said Eldridge. “There’s Backus hospital in Norwich but up here in the northeast there isn’t a whole lot.”

The closest hospitals to Day Kimball would be about a 30-minute drive across the Massachusetts border. Another option would be to drive more than 30 minutes to Backus or Windham hospital. That’s why Day Kimball is so important to people like Eldridge.

“It’s been here a long time, and I think it’s served the community well.”

Day Kimball’s CEO Kyle Kramer says it needs an affiliation to afford necessary building repairs and systems upgrades. An affiliation would also allow the hospital to offer employees better pay and benefits.

“We do think an affiliation is important,” said Kramer. “As a small, independent, free-standing, rural hospital, it’s very challenging. We’ve seen across the country the challenges that rural hospitals have faced, many of which have been unable to sustain operations.”

There was a public hearing scheduled about Day Kimball’s affiliation with Covenant Health in April. That is now cancelled.

Covenant Health released a statement on March 14th that said the following:

“As you may have seen in the news, last week, we sent a letter to Day Kimball Healthcare notifying them of our decision to end our affiliation agreement. We have also notified the State of Connecticut of our decision.

This action comes following nearly two years of negotiation and active participation in the regulatory process and is based on new information that came to light as part of our on-going due diligence as we prepared for public hearings. As we assessed this new data, it became clear that the affiliation was no longer financially viable.

While this was a difficult decision, it is fiscally responsible and reflects our commitment to be good stewards of our organization’s resources. Certainly, this is not the ending we hoped for, but we are confident that this is in the best interest of our healthcare system.”- Steve Grubbs, Covenant Health President/CEO

The I-Team asked Covenant Health what this “new information” was. We have not received a response.

The I-Team also asked Kramer if he knew what information Covenant Health is talking about.

“No, not really,” said Kramer. “Our financial performance all along has been exactly as we projected it would be.”

Kramer says the hospital board will now be coming together to figure out next steps. He says they will be calling on lawmakers for support while the hospital looks for a new partner.

When asked if people should be worried about Day Kimball closing, Kramer responded, “No, we are not at risk of closing immediately. We have continued to build our operational support. We have continued to improve our balance sheet. We have continued to improve our positioning.

Covenant Health cancels Day Kimball acquisition