Raimondo Mutes Concerns About Partners HealthCare as Influential Board Members Host Mega-Fundraiser

Thursday, June 07, 2018
GoLocalProv News Team

Top Partners HealthCare Board Members throwing Raimondo fundraiser
In late January, both Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor warned that the acquisition of Rhode Island-based Care New England by mega-hospital group Partners HealthCare was a danger to Rhode Island’s economy and could cost the state jobs.

Just five months later -- as Partners’ acquisition of the second largest hospital group is even more of a realization -- Raimondo has muted her comments on the potential adverse impacts that the deal may have on Rhode Island's healthcare industry. 

On June 15, Anne Finucane, Vice Chair of Bank of America, and Jack Connors, considered by many to be one of the most influential business leaders in Boston, are co-hosting a fundraiser for the who’s who in Boston for Raimondo. The event is a $1,000 per person breakfast at the private Boston College club.

Both are top leaders on the board of Partners Healthcare.

This is another recent disclosure by GoLocal about controversial Raimondo fundraisers. On Tuesday, GoLocal reported, Raimondo has tapped one of the players in one of the most dramatic Congressional showdowns for her latest out-of-town fundraiser.  Andrew Tisch and his wife Ann are hosting a New York City fundraiser on Thursday for Governor Gina Raimondo at their home.

However, Tisch may be best known for his dramatic testimony before Congress when he was the CEO of Lorillard Tobacco Company, when he and other leading tobacco execs shocked members of Congress and the American public in claiming that there was no link between tobacco and cancer and that nicotine was not addictive.

Raimondo-Boston-Partners 

Finucane is a regular on Fortune’s most powerful women in business list and has been on the BoA management team going back decades — since the acquisition of Fleet Bank. She was a member of the executive team that decided to abandon Providence’s Superman Building — the building has been closed for five years. She is married to former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle who was fired for falsifying and plagiarizing stories. He is now a regular on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”

While Finucane plays the role of the banker, the other co-host of Raimondo's upcoming fundraiser was featured by Boston magazine in a story titled, “Is Jack Connors the Last King of Boston?

The magazine wrote, “For the past 14, he’s been chairman of the board at Partners HealthCare, one of the state’s most important and largest employers. He sits on Harvard Medical School’s Board of Fellows, and on the board of Boston College. Part of the reason he’s been on those boards, and those of more than two dozen other corporate, civic, and nonprofit organizations over the years is that he is this city’s fundraiser nonpareil, a genius at separating very rich people from very large sums of money.”

Connors, who headed one of the largest ad agencies in America for decades, is known as the consummate dealmaker.

Boston.com wrote in a feature titled, “The Invisible Hand of Jack” that his influence has been "predicated not on running the biggest company in town… but a network of relationships unparalleled in Boston.”

Connors opposed changing the name of Yawkey Way
For 16 years, he served on the board of directors of Partners HealthCare, and became chairman emeritus. 

Connors, who has longstanding ties to the Boston Red Sox, made news by opposing the name change of Yawkey Way. Minority leaders in Boston demanded Tom Yawkey’s name be removed due to his racist legacy as owner of the Boston Red Sox.

“The way to solve or address the problem is not to change the name of this street and another street and another street, it is to bring these great resources together. The Boston Red Sox, and the Yawkey Foundation . . . let’s bring these parties together," said Connors in a Globe article

The city rejected Connors pleas and removed Yawkey’s name in May of this year.

Partners -- Bigger than Rhode Island

Partners’ annual budget is nearly 50 percent larger than the state of Rhode Island’s. The mega-hospital reported in December, “Partners total operating revenue grew $853 million (7%) to $13.4 billion in 2017.”

The company employs more than 70,000 employees.

In January, the Raimondo administration warned that Partners' entrance in the market could do significant damage to the healthcare sector — Rhode Island's second largest industry.

“This [Partners acquisition of CNE] is of concern. That doesn’t mean it won’t ultimately resolve in a way that’s good for Rhode Island, but we need to track it closely," said Pryor on LIVE. "My departments are not the regulators per se. There could be an element that ultimately comes before us. But still we have to be cautious as the state and the Governor’s administration ultimately needs to approve."

“That being said, thousands of jobs are at issue, important healthcare jobs. And the healthcare access of Rhode Islanders is at issue. Rhode Islanders shouldn’t have to go north to get their healthcare.  They shouldn’t have to find their way to specialty care,” said Pryor.

Raimondo on GoLocal LIVE on January 28 issued the same warning about the adverse impact Partners could have on the Rhode Island economy.

“Jobs stay local, care stays local and the healthcare costs don’t go up. No one wants to drive to Boston to go to your doctor,” said Raimondo.

But now, the Raimondo administration has softened their approach.

St. Joseph retirees face an uncertain future
Raimondo’s office said on Wednesday, “This development is an important step in the process and there remains a long way to go. The Governor is encouraged that Care New England and Partners are including a strong local partnership with Brown University. The Department of Health will conduct a public and thorough process before anything is approved, and Governor Raimondo has directed the team at DOH to emphasize keeping health care costs down and protecting access to local care.”

But when asked how the Raimondo administration would protect jobs, the Raimondo administration cited the review process by the Department of Health in the Hospital Conversation Act (HCA) review. Statutorily, the Health Department’s role in the HCA is tied to issues of care and not finances.

Issues relating to the assets of the non-profits are reviewed by the office of the Attorney General under the review process.

In 2014, the acquisition of CharterCare was approved by both Health and the Attorney General's office and just three-plus years later, the  St. Joseph Health Services’ pension fund —  a part of the transaction — was thrust into receivership after the regulatory authorities claimed the fund was over 90 percent funded.

St. Joseph’s pension fund collapse is the largest pension fund failure in Rhode Island history.

  • Momentum: Up

    Patricia Morgan (R)

    Wins:

    Morgan, the consummate battler, went to court to challenge Peter Kilmartin to release public documents regarding the expenditure of Google monies given to Rhode Island.

    Morgan, like fellow GOP candidate Allan Fung and Democrat Matt Brown, hammered Governor Gina Raimondo on the PawSox proposal. SEE HERE

    Losses:

    N/A

    X-Factor: Issues Morgan has been talking about for years are growing in importance.

     
  • Momentum: Up

    Luis Daniel Muñoz (I)

    Wins:

    This week he unveiled three initiatives:

    First, the D.I.N.O. program — dynamic intelligence for nation opportunity — and economic education initiative focused on preparing students for better-paying jobs.

    Second, the R.I.N.O. — redefining intelligence for national opportunity — a career focused retaining program for Rhode Island workers.

    And, third, MEND-i, a statewide community health initiative that puts more emphasis on the community health systems. SEE INTERVIEW HERE

    Losses:

    Are these the issues that Rhode Islanders care about?

    X-Factor: A lot of substance, but little style points. Needs follow-up.

     
  • Momentum:Flat

    Allan Fung (R)

    Wins:

    PawSox, PawSox, PawSox. Fung is hammering Raimondo on the latest PawSox proposal that Raimondo's Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor testified in favor of House Finance on Thursday night.

    Pryor joined some bill supporters claiming Mattiello's new bill would cost more (as much as $25 million more), but eliminate the risk for taxpayers. But, by Friday morning, Raimondo said the taxpayers would be on the hook if the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency fails. So this new proposal that the Raimondo administration purportedly supports -- costs more and still puts the taxpayer on the hook.

    This is good eating for Fung's campaign.

    Losses:

    Raimondo via the Democratic Governor's Association is hammering Fung on pay equity and gun control. This is designed to create a gender gap for Fung. He needs to be careful here -- could be the difference maker.

    X-Factor:  Needs to be careful. Has to make sure that he does not lose female voters over the next few months - guns, equity, schools, reproductive rights.

     
  • Momentum: Flat

    Gina Raimondo (D)

    Wins: 

    Deepwater Wind announcement claimed a large number of construction jobs over the next few years -- potentially as many as 800, but fewer than 50 permanent jobs in Rhode Island. 

    Losses:

    The PawSox are becoming a big problem - does she favor Speaker Nick Mattiello's new proposal? 

    X-Factor: Will she push through an unpopular funding scheme?

     
  • Momentum: Flat

    Spencer Dickinson (D)

    Wins:

    This week Spencer Dickinson said that he name Ted Siedle as a special prosecutor to "dig into problems with the RI retirees pension fund."

    Dickinson is the only candidate from either party who, as a member of the House, actively fought what he calls the so-called ‘pension reform’ disaster of 2011.” 

    Dickinson says that the legislation pushed through by Speaker Gordon Fox and then-treasurer Gina Raimondo in November 2011 has "angered thousands of teachers and state employees who still believe the action was illegal, unnecessary and unfair."

    Siedle, a columnist for Forbes Magazine and former attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission, "does not mince words when sharing his views on the subject:  “Pension fraud … 38 Studios… these are the greatest crimes ever perpetrated in the history of the state.” 

    Losses:

    N/A

    X-Factors:  Can he run successfully on the failures of pension reform?

     
  • Momentum: Flat

    Matt Brown (D)

    Wins:

    Brown may be smelling blood on the PawSox issue with Gina Raimondo -- each week the Raimondo message is ever changing. Raimondo blew up Mattiello's newest proposal on Friday.

    Brown charges, "The latest PawSox proposal is more of the same. There’s no way revenue will be there to pay these bonds and taxpayers will be on the hook.   

    The entire effort to get the taxpayers of Rhode Island to subsidize the PawSox -- a corporation owned by a group of billionaires  -- must end.

    The people of Rhode Island struggling to make ends meet shouldn’t have to subsidize a corporation owned by a group of billionaires. They can build this proposed stadium themselves.

    If you own a business, you should make the investment, take the risk and reap the profits.  That’s how the free market works. What’s happening here is corporate socialism: government taking taxpayers money and subsidizing a private corporation.

    This effort to compel Rhode Island taxpayers to subsidize billionaire owners has hurt the PawSox brand. Rhode Islanders are smart - they know they’re getting fleeced and they’re angry about it. A team that used to be of and for the local community is now owned by a group that seems to be solely out to maximize their own profits. I think that’s at least part of the reason attendance at PawSox games is down.

    Instead of another taxpayer giveaway to another wealthy corporation, the state should meet its Medicaid obligations, cease raiding 911 emergency services and address the real problems facing Rhode Islanders. Our political leaders always take care of the rich, connected and powerful while the people are forgotten and the state fails to meet basic needs."

    Losses:

    Needs to explain the John Lewis claim.

    X-Factor:  Cha-ching -- PawSox issue may be the winner to build some momentum.

     
  • Momentum: Down

    Giovanni Feroce (R)

    Wins:

    No press releases. No press events. 

    Losses:

    Crickets.

    X-Factor: What happened to the man of action?

     
  • Momentum: Down

    Joe Trillo (I)

    Wins:

    Trillo continues a Trumpesque narrative. This could be a winning formula to get him into the teens or more.  

    Losses:

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    X-Factor: Trump, Trump, Trump. Could this be a winning formula to get him in the race?

     
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