“Honestly, I can think of no greater priority”
STATE HOUSE, Providence—Following more than a year of advocating to get desperately-needed help to the Zambarano Unit of Eleanor Slater Hospital, Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz (R-Dist. 23, Burrillville, Glocester, North Smithfield) said she is thrilled to learn that more than $145 million is proposed as an allocation to fix the hospital in the 2023 state budget.
“Our first—and most important—responsibility is to help people who cannot help themselves,” de la Cruz said. “It is such a relief that Zam patients and their families will finally get the desperately- needed repairs to this beloved facility. Under this proposal, more than $108 million will be allocated to build a new facility on the Burrillville campus by 2028 and millions more for necessary updates.”
Senator de la Cruz has been working to prevent the closure of the hospital, which provides crucial care unavailable anywhere else in the state to extremely vulnerable patients. “This is a huge win for the patients, their families, and the State of Rhode Island,” she said. “This isn’t just a band-aid fix—the improvements we will be making will benefit generations of Rhode Islanders to come. This is a great start in strengthening our infrastructure to support our most vulnerable people.”
Turmoil has been swirling at Zambarano, where years of neglect has left the facilities in disrepair, which has at times placed patients and staff in unsafe conditions. The new facility will have 80 long-term acute care beds and 20 skilled-nursing beds.
Nearly $50 million in funds will be allocated in the short term to upgrade ventilators, move the hospital to an electronic record-keeping system, provide utilities/wastewater improvements, and buy new patient-transport vehicles.
“When I was first elected in 2018, I was asked at freshman orientation what the most important issue in my district was,” said Senator de la Cruz. “My answer was then—and still is now—it’s Zambarano. We’re going to build this, and we’re going to build it right."
For more information, contact:
Senate Minority Office
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903