UConn Health seeks private-public partnership


UConn Health expects to be in “in-depth negotiations” with a potential partner in September 2018, according to report. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

UConn Health is one step closer to a private-public partnership with an outside organization following the release of a report to the Connecticut General Assembly, providing an update on their consideration of such a pairing.

“We provided an update to Governor Malloy and the General Assembly on the status of our efforts to explore a public-private partnership (P3) aimed at strengthening UConn Health,” UConn Health spokesperson Lauren Woods said in an email. “Through a P3, we hope to continue our journey of financial stabilization and growth.”

The report to the General Assembly stressed UConn Health’s accomplishments but also reaffirmed the need for a partnership.

“Despite UConn Health’s successes, we believe our long-term sustainability may be best secured through an appropriate public-private partnership,” the report said.

In addition to financial stability in the long term, the report said the partnership will aim to attract more faculty and students, increase patient volume and “deliver on the promise of Bioscience Connecticut.” This initiative will expand research and help UConn Health become a biotechnology hub for Connecticut, the report said.

UConn Health expects to be in “in-depth negotiations” with a potential partner in September 2018, according to the report.  Before the selection is made, legal experts, stakeholder groups and financial advisors will all be consulted to ensure “multi-functional expertise and accountabilities required for success,” the report said.

The move to merge with an outside organization comes after projected budget deficits the past few years, UConn Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew Agwunobi told The Hartford Courant..

Dr. Bruce Liang, Dean of the UConn School of Medicine and Director of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, said he welcomes a partnership he feels will strengthen his departments.

“The School of Medicine needs to be not just preserved, but strengthened through any type of partnership,” Liang said. “This includes more learning opportunities for our trainees and our clinical teaching side and good clinical teachers, which are very important  If that means more quality clinical teaching and more clinical teachers, that will of course be welcome.”

Eighth-semester nursing major Emily Polito said she is on board with the idea of a partnership.

“UConn Health is an impressive hospital with high-end research and resources and excellent health care providers,” Polito said.  “Whatever it takes to keep this hospital in business will be beneficial. Allowing a partnership with a private sector will take off the financial burden that is ultimately taking a hit on the residents of Connecticut, and it will allow the hospital to continue to run the way it is currently.”

Polito added she is saddened by the reason behind the partnership, but is still supportive of it.

“I think it will be a benefit to our state as a whole,” Polito said.  “But it is unfortunate that Connecticut’s debt is so significant that we got to this situation in the first place.”  

Liang said he feels excited regarding the possibility of enhancing UConn Health even more.

“To collaborate to mutually benefit and to strengthen UConn Health – that potential and prospect is always good,” Liang said.  

Luke Hajdasz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at luke.hajdasz@uconn.edu.

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