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3/1/2019 Legislation would bring more transparency to St. Joseph pension plan, Hospital Conversion Act
STATE HOUSE — Building upon legislation that was passed last year, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) has introduced bills that would bring further transparency to the St. Joseph's Health Services pension plan and the Hospital Conversions Act.

Last year, a law introduced by President Ruggerio helped members of the insolvent pension plan to reach settlements in their multiple class-action lawsuits by better positioning members to reach fair, equitable settlements with the multiple defendants of the lawsuits.

The new legislation (2019-S 0431), which President Ruggerio developed with General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, would require all pension plans with at least 200 members not covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, to submit to the same public scrutiny, including public reporting of all its liabilities and assets.

“The beneficiaries of this pension plan deserve the same level of transparency as other pension plans, said President Ruggerio. “This legislation affords them an opportunity to level the playing field by bringing much-needed transparency to the pension plan process.”

The $85 million St. Joseph pension plan covers about 2,700 current and former employees of Our Lady of Fatima and Roger Williams hospitals, but was left insolvent when contributions to it ceased following the sale of Fatima and Roger Williams to Prospect Medical Holdings in 2014.

Ruggerio also introduced legislation (2019-S 0500) that would strengthen a law passed last year that brings greater transparency to the hospital conversion process.

The law, introduced last year by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), requires the Attorney General and the Department of Health to conduct interviews under oath with a stenographer present when gathering information during conversions.

The new legislation, which Ruggerio developed with Attorney General Peter F. Neronha, would extend the monitoring of hospital conversions from three to five years, increase the monetary fine for violations from $1 million to $2 million, and simplify judicial review provisions of hospital conversions.

“Last year, we increased the transparency and accountability of these massive transactions by strengthening the information gathering and vetting processes,” said President Ruggerio. “This legislation builds upon that, making the law even stronger.”

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903