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Lifespan, Care New England seek approval to merge

Two Providence, R.I.-based health systems — Lifespan and Care New England —  are seeking approval from state and federal regulators to merge into a single organization and create an integrated academic health system in partnership with Brown University, according to The Boston Globe

The two organizations filed a merger application with the Rhode Island health department and attorney general's office April 26. The formal filing comes after the two systems filed their application for antitrust review with the Federal Trade Commission.

The two hospitals inked a definitive agreement to merge in February. As part of the agreement, Providence-based Brown pledged to invest $125 million over five years to support the creation and integration of the academic health system. Brown would also have representatives on the board of the newly merged health system and play a key role in integrating medical education and research with clinical practice across the combined system's hospitals.

LifeSpan and Care New England have attempted to merge in the past, but negotiations stalled or ended. Most recently, Care New England's board voted in July 2019 to withdraw from merger talks with Lifespan and Brown University, citing several factors, including capital requirements and financial stability of the combined system, community need, antitrust considerations, organizational stability and implementation risks.

But the two organizations renewed partnership talks last year, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic solidified that a unified system could benefit the community.

To help gain public support for the deal, the organizations launched a campaign, including a website, HealthierRI.com.

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