Senator de la Cruz, Representative Place call on hospital to keep doors open
State House, Providence – As they continue to fight to keep the Zambarano Unit of Eleanor Slater Hospital open, Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz, (R-Dist. 23, Burrillville, Glocester, North Smithfield) and Representative David J. Place, (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester) have received explosive confirmation of the rumors the state intends to close the skilled care facility, and to discharge patients unable to receive care anywhere else.
The legislators are calling for both the House and Senate oversight committees to convene hearings on these troubling accusations. They are further calling on the BHDDH administration to freeze all discharges. Additionally, they want administrators to cease efforts to make “qualifying for care” at Zambarano impossible for everyone – including current residents.
“All this time BHDDH claimed the inability to bill was based on ‘patient census issues.’ Dr. Decelles’s comments about failure of the agency to create medical records systems calls into question the BHDDH administration’s integrity,” Representative Place said.
Dr. Decelles penned a detailed, open letter describing the “numerous falsehoods … which make it necessary to write,” the doctor said. “I wish to address allegations and judgments by some hospital administrators that Zambarano is not necessary, that current patients should never have been admitted, that those admitted were not properly vetted, and that patients must now leave because they fail newly-developed hospital ‘criteria for admission.’”
With funding gone, hospital administration “wanted 100% of patients discharged by June 2020.” With just 85 patients left, the doctor said the drop in patient census at Zambarano is due to the lack of new admissions and deaths.
“It is not a reflection of the lack of need for our services in RI. Very appropriate candidates for admission are now frozen in Rhode Island’s acute hospital beds with no discharge options,” the doctor said. Further, staff is being reduced at the facility to the point where there will soon not be enough physicians on staff to care for the patients.
“My other concern is there is so much we don’t know because we aren’t being told – they’re letting staff go – they’ve laid off one doctor, more are retiring…they will be down to two physicians to manage the whole population,” Decelles said.
De la Cruz and Place said they are eager to work with the McKee administration to keep Zambarano patients where they belong, and will continue communicating with the department and the governor to find solutions.
You can view Dr. Normand Decelles, Jr., M.D. Letter in entirety at
Chief of Staff
Rhode Island House of Representatives Minority Office
Rhode Island State House, Room 106
Providence, Rhode Island 02903