Labor groups representing hundreds of nurses were quick to praise Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for his veto of a bill that would have made it easier for a Tennessee-based company to potentially acquire Waterbury Hospital.
Malloy, a Democrat, struck down a measure that would have allowed the Waterbury Hospital and the hospital in Bristol to act as medical “foundations,” even if they were to become for-profit hospitals. Current law only allows non-profit entities to function as foundations.
Leaders of AFSCME, which represents some 400 nurses at Waterbury Hospital, said Thursday that a takeover of Waterbury Hospital by Vanguard Health Systems would have negatively affected its members.
“We’ve already been on the front lines fighting the ruthless practices and inhumane tactics of the for-profits,” said Barbara Simonetta, President of CT Health Care Associates/AFSCME. “Vanguard has been out for months to kill the nurses’ long-standing pensions, among other outrageous actions, as a precondition for merging with Waterbury Hospital.”
The medical foundations legislation was grafted onto an existing bill and passed within hours on the final day of legislative session. In his veto message, Malloy said “further consideration” is needed to determine whether it is appropriate to change state law specifically for the hospitals in Waterbury and Bristol.
Messages put out to Waterbury lawmakers who backed the hospital measure were not immediately returned.