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Sharon Hospital cuts take on fresh focus

HARTFORD — The Connecticut Office of Health Strategy (OHS) has scheduled a public hearing in October on Sharon Hospital’s request to eliminate labor and delivery services as a cost-saving measure.

The Save Sharon Hospital organization also has scheduled a series of community meetings and a rally on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. on the Sharon Green.

The OHS hearing will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 18 via Zoom, with a technical discussion starting at 10 a.m. and public comments at 3 p.m.

Sharon Hospital is part of nonprofit Nuvance Health, which operates seven hospitals and outpatient facilities in northwest Connecticut and the Hudson Valley. According to Stroudwater Associates, a consultancy to rural and community hospitals, approximately 35% of the people served by Sharon Hospital live in Connecticut ZIP codes and 65% in New York’s Hudson Valley.  Stroudwater was engaged to examine the hospital’s financial and operational issues.

In recent months, the towns of Sharon, Cornwall, Kent, Salisbury, Norfolk and Goshen have signed  statements opposing Nuvance’s plans to eliminate or reduce vital services at Sharon Hospital.  In New York, the town of Amenia also has opposed the hospital’s plan.

The hospital has held several community meetings to discuss its plans with residents, the last of which was held Sept. 8 in North Canaan and was attended by only two citizens.

The average daily number of patients in its labor and delivery unit is less than one, yet it remains a fully staffed department. Sharon Hospital also seeks to consolidate  care in its Intensive Care Unit into a new Progressive Care Unit.

Save Sharon Hospital plans community roundtables on Friday, Sept. 23, at St. Bernard’s Church in Sharon at 6 p.m.; on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Scoville Memorial Library in Salisbury at 4 p.m. and on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Northeast-Millerton Library at in Millerton at 6 p.m.

Oral public testimony to OHS requires registration. Written comment may be submitted prior to the hearing via email at OHS@ct.gov by Oct. 17. For Zoom link information go to https://bit.ly/3dsJUyM

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