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Partners, Care New England approach Lifespan to form partnership

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Boston-based Partners HealthCare and Providence, R.I.-based Care New England approached Lifespan, also in Providence, Feb. 27 to begin discussions on how the three providers may work together to improve healthcare delivery in Rhode Island.

In a joint statement to Becker's Hospital Review Feb. 27, the three organizations said, "Care New England and Partners HealthCare have approached Lifespan and will begin formal discussions to explore how all three healthcare providers might work together to strengthen patient care delivery in Rhode Island. By combining the talent, experience and resources of our like-minded, provider-based organizations, we envision creating a national model that fully leverages the integration and coordination of care. In doing so, we are better equipped to meet market challenges and mandates to improve outcomes while reducing healthcare costs."

Lifespan CEO Timothy J. Babineau, MD, said in a statement to the Providence Journal he is excited about what the proposed partnership would mean for healthcare delivery in the state.

"Lifespan has always been interested in partnering with like-minded, superb organizations, and I look forward to the discussions and the potential to continually improve the seamless and coordinated care we deliver to our patients," he said.

Following Care New England and Partners' merger announcement in January, Providence-based Brown University and Los Angeles-based Prospect Medical Holdings provided an unsolicited joint bid to take over Care New England. However, in an emailed statement to the Providence Journal, Brown University President Christina Paxson, PhD, said the university was "encouraged" by Lifespan, Care New England and Partners' decision to team up.

"Brown is encouraged that Care New England and Lifespan are talking together about the future of healthcare in Rhode Island, and we hope to be included in these discussions. We have advocated for this kind of within-state dialogue for years," she wrote, adding university officials are still concerned about how the proposed partnership may affect cost and access to healthcare in the state.

"Previously, we have noted that the acquisition of Care New England by Partners could undermine competition in the healthcare market and lead to higher healthcare costs. A business relationship between Partners and Lifespan that further consolidates market power could have additional adverse effects on Rhode Islanders," Dr. Paxson wrote.

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