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Care New England: 'Our future is strong' despite merger rejection

The CEO of Care New England said the health system is resilient after the Federal Trade Commission and state attorney general's rejection of its proposed merger with Lifespan, both based in Providence, R.I., The Boston Globe reported March 1.

Care New England CEO James Fanale, MD, told the Globe he has been visiting each unit in the health system.

"They've been through this gamut for the past three to five years," Dr. Fanale said. "But our folks are pretty resilient. They're calm, patient, don't seem to be too frazzled, and they know we'll continue moving forward on our mission to serve our patients and staff."

"But I think our future is strong," he added.

The deal was in partnership with Providence-based Brown University and would have created an integrated academic health system with control of eight of the state's 13 hospitals. The FTC and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha rejected the plan and planned to file suit against the deal because of concerns it would raise costs. The two systems subsequently withdrew the application.

Dr. Fanale told the Globe the system is receiving offers from other organizations, including a $550 million offer from financial turnaround company StoneBridge Healthcare. But he said the system is currently holding off on future deals.

Additionally, Care New England is seeking $28 million in funds to build a new labor and delivery unit for Women and Infants Hospital, the Globe reported March 3. However, the funding will be through a fully philanthropic effort, without any capital from the system as it struggles with major losses during the pandemic, according to the Globe.

A spokesperson for the system told the Globe it plans on launching a fundraising campaign for $33 million, which also includes $5 million for the Women's Health Research Institute. Construction for the labor and delivery unit is expected to begin later this year, and it is expected to open in 2024.

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