- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Long-running talks over a proposal for Tenet Healthcare Corp. to acquire five Connecticut hospitals have failed to produce a deal, the company and governor’s office announced Wednesday.

The Dallas-based company said it is best for the hospitals and their communities to move forward exploring other options. The on-again, off-again negotiations stretched on for more than two years as Tenet considered acquiring hospitals in Bristol, Manchester, Vernon and Waterbury.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the issues separating the two sides “simply could not be overcome.” But he said his administration still planned to work with the hospitals, affected communities and the General Assembly “to come up with smart, creative solutions that will preserve local access to care for all patients.”

Carl Contadini, chairman of the board of directors of the Waterbury Hospital/Greater Waterbury Network, called the announcement “disappointing but not surprising.” He said the organization was grateful Tenet and the Malloy administration tried to work through the issues and appreciated how they didn’t prolong the process.

Darlene Stromstad, Waterbury Hospital’s president and CEO, said the network is now engaged in “securing the future” of the organization.

“We are actively making plans for our resurgence and we pledge to do everything we can to ensure sustainable quality health care in greater Waterbury for now and long into the future,” she said.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, called the failed talks “a devastating blow” to both the Waterbury community and the entire state.

“Governor Malloy had the opportunity to close this deal and he failed. It is unfortunately consistent with his lack of leadership over the last two years on this issue,” said Fasano, adding how he and Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and other state legislators tried to resuscitate the deal and get both sides back to the table after Tenet pulled out in December.

The Office of Health Care Access set dozens of conditions on the hospital acquisitions. Tenet had criticized many of them as extensive and onerous. Fasano said those conditions went above and beyond what the legislature had previously rejected as being too burdensome.

Mark Ojakian, Malloy’s chief of staff, accused Fasano of being “a partisan talking-point machine, heckling from the sidelines instead of actually doing the hard work of governing.”

While disappointed with the outcome, Looney said Malloy had worked hard to reach an agreement with Tenet.

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