August 15, 2018

Sen. Da Ponte bill that protects pensions during hospital sales passed Senate

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State House – Sen. Daniel Da Ponte’s (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) legislation (2018-S 2467aa) that would require the general treasurer to conduct a review of any defined pension plans involved in the sale and acquisition of any hospital that are not covered by The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 was passed by the Senate.
“As we have witnessed with the orphaning and collapse of the St. Joseph Health Services pension fund, the retirees who had selflessly worked their whole lives to help others were cruelly left out in the cold after the sale of the hospital. The law regarding hospital conversions did not protect them and that is simply not fair and not right. This bill will amend the law and give the general treasurer the authority to review these pension funds and assess the health and stability of the plans before and after the proposed sale. This will protect workers and retirees so that hopefully another hospital pension collapse like St. Joseph’s never happens in the state again,” said Senator Da Ponte.
The $85 million St. Joseph pension plan covers about 2,700 current and former employees of Our Lady of Fatima and Roger Williams hospitals, but was left insolvent when contributions to it ceased following the sale of Fatima and Roger Williams to Prospect Medical Holdings in 2014.
Senator Da Ponte’s legislation states that prior to any hospital sale in Rhode Island, the general treasurer will conduct a review of any defined pension plans associated with the sale that are not covered by The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The general treasurer will then report to the General Assembly, indicating any current or potential issues that may affect the health of the pension plans and what impact the pension plans may have on the sale of the hospital.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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