Main Street News

A Final Decision Has Finally Been Made on Sharon Hospital

By Published On: September 14th, 2023

On August 28, 2023, Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy (OHS) announced its Final Decision to reject Nuvance Health’s application to terminate the labor and delivery services at Sharon Hospital in Sharon, CT.

The community, politicians, physicians at Sharon Hospital, and Save Sharon Hospital—a nonprofit community organization committed to supporting and maintaining the full range of services at Sharon Hospital—were overjoyed to hear the final decision.

In support, Comptroller Sean Scanlon, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, and U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes joined leadership from Save Sharon Hospital at the Sharon Town Hall to discuss the importance of this proposed decision and the hopes that Nuvance would not challenge the decision since Nuvance still has time to do so.

Other local officials were there to demonstrate support. Among them, speaking about the importance of keeping maternity at Sharon Hospital, were Connecticut State Rep Maria Horn; Connecticut State Senator Stephen Harding; Sharon First Selectman Brent Colley; Cornwall First Selectman Gordon Ridgway; and Kent First Selectman Jean Speck.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong praised the proposed decision. “Miles and minutes matter intensely when it comes to labor and delivery. This decision is a major victory for the Sharon community and all who organized to protect access to community-based maternal healthcare.”

“I thank OHS for thoroughly reviewing this application, and for giving careful consideration to the disproportionate harm this closure would have had on communities of color and low-income residents of the Northwest corner. I remain deeply concerned by the cascading consequences of healthcare consolidation in our state, particularly in our rural communities. I look forward to continuing to work with OHS and other state leaders to identify ways to safeguard rural healthcare in Connecticut and to ensure lifesaving access to affordable, community-based care for all residents,” said Attorney General Tong.

The Decision

According to Lydia Moore—one of the founders of Save Sharon Hospital, although the State already made a preliminary decision, it’s not yet final. There is still time for Nuvance Health to challenge that decision.

“We are confident that if Nuvance decides to challenge the OHS proposed final decision, OHS will ultimately uphold it. The initial OHS ruling details how Nuvance failed to satisfy five of eight required criteria to gain approval of its CON application. It seems unlikely at this stage that Nuvance would be able to suddenly meet those five criteria. The Northwest Corner needs access to safe, local labor and delivery services, and we appreciate the work and thought that OHS put into coming to this proposed final decision. We also appreciate the support this issue has received from the community as well as political figures on the national, state, and local level,” said Lydia Moore. As of press time, Nuvance did not respond to a request for comment.

Save Sharon Hospital formed in 2018, which is the previous time that Sharon Hospital attempted to shutter the labor and delivery unit. At that time, the community united to keep the maternity unit open, and it succeeded.

In September 2021, Nuvance Health announced another plan to close the unit. In January 2022, Nuvance submitted its application to the State. The final step in the regulatory process, which was governed by OHS, was a public hearing, held on October 18, 2022, via Zoom. At that time, the community was asked to provide written and oral testimony. Ten months later, OHS made a proposed final decision, which Nuvance challenged.