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Care New England, Lifespan to merge

Two Providence, R.I.-based health systems — Lifespan and Care New England Health System — have signed a letter of intent to combine into one nonprofit organization with Brown University.

The boards of directors of both health systems voted Sept. 7 to sign a letter of intent to merge. The letter of intent is the first step in the process, and the final deal will require approval from the Rhode Island Department of Health, attorney general's office and the Federal Trade Commission. 

If the transaction closes, the combined system would include seven hospitals and have more than 23,500 employees. 

This isn't the first time the three organizations have entered into partnership talks. In June 2019, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo asked Care New England to try to work out a merger agreement with Lifespan and Brown University. At that time, Boston-based Mass General Brigham, formerly Partners HealthCare, was attempting to acquire Care New England. Partners called off the deal, and talks between Care New England and Lifespan ended in July 2019. 

Care New England President and CEO James E. Fanale, MD, said his system has worked closely with Lifespan during the pandemic and both organizations realized the "natural evolution" was to begin another round of merger talks, according to The Boston Globe

"By working together, Lifespan, Care New England, and Brown University can create a fully integrated academic healthcare system for the people of Rhode Island," said Lifespan President and CEO Timothy J. Babineau, MD, in a news release. "Combining our investment in our physicians, clinical staff, researchers, technology and other health care staff will greatly help us continue to fulfill our mission of providing world-class health care to our patients, advancing medical discoveries and serving as a vital economic engine for our state."

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