Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital have halted talks to combine operations after failing to agree on how the new venture would be governed, an official of Yale New Haven said Monday.
Cynthia Sparer, executive director of Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, said a “governance issue” was not resolved.
“That is what ultimately ended the conversation,” she said.
Jim Shmerling, chief executive officer of Connecticut Children’s, said a proposal to have the venture, which he said was called Kidco, run independently but as part of Yale New Haven was not acceptable.
“It could not be independent and that’s where we drew the line,” he said.
Talks between the two hospitals began in September 2016 and ended in January. The Hartford Business Journal first reported on Monday the end of merger talks.
Sparer, who also is senior vice president of operations at Yale New Haven Hospital, said the two sides favored creating a children’s hospital with its own board “able to determine what’s best for the new entity,” Sparer said.
Officials at Yale New Haven proposed establishing an independent children’s hospital at Yale New Haven. It would have had its own board and leadership and executed its own strategy, she said.
“Financial and otherwise, we were not able to come to agreement on that,” Sparer said.
Shmerling said, as first discussed, the operation would have been governed equally by the two medical centers. The intent was to create one children’s hospital for Connecticut and end costly duplication and competition for resources such as pediatricians.
The two health centers said last fall they were discussing a pediatric care partnership that could have extended the Hartford-based hospital's reach into populous Fairfield County.
A combination would have created one of the largest children's hospitals in the U.S.
The health centers said officials “agreed to discuss a partnership to create a new Connecticut and regional system of pediatric care with national prominence and deep community engagement."
Connecticut Children's Medical Center is a not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the department of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
Yale New Haven Children's Hospital is part of Yale New Haven Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with Yale School of Medicine. It operates in New Haven and Bridgeport and has pediatric specialty centers in Greenwich, New Haven, Norwalk, Old Saybrook and Trumbull.
Several mergers in Connecticut have been announced as hospitals seek to consolidate and streamline operations and cut costs.
The end to merger talks is unfortunate, Sparer said.
In a small state such as Connecticut, a combined hospital “would have been beneficial across the board,” she said. The new health center could have built services such as specialty centers across the state and established working relationships with other hospitals, Sparer said.
“It’s why we’ve not closed doors,” she said. “We continue to work together on other things and advocacy that join us together.”
A renewed push for a merger is still possible, she said.
“You never say never,” Sparer said.