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Partners-Care New England merger granted expedited review

The Rhode Island Department of Health granted Boston-based Partners HealthCare's proposed merger with Providence, R.I.-based Care New England an expedited review on Sept. 29, a department spokesperson confirmed to the Providence Journal.

"RIDOH has reviewed and considered the materials submitted. RIDOH has determined that Care New England operates one or more distressed Rhode Island hospitals and hereby grants this request for expedited review," according to a health department letter obtained by the Providence Journal.

Under an expedited review, the amount of documentation the health systems must provide is decreased and a public hearing is not required. The department has 90 days to review and grant its decision on the pending merger.

Partners and Care New England formalized their acquisition agreement in May.

Providence-based Brown University officials previously voiced their concern over Partners' proposed acquisition of Care New England. After the health systems first announced the deal in January, the university reportedly approached Providence-based Lifespan to form a competing bid. However, Lifespan rejected the deal.

In August, Partners and Care New England officially entered into an agreement with Brown, declaring the Providence-based Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University the primary academic research and teaching institution for the combined health system.

A Lifespan spokesperson told the Providence Journal via email last week: "We are surprised by the Department of Health's decision to grant an expedited review for Partners Healthcare acquisition of Care New England. Given Care New England's reported strong financial performance, we do not believe they meet the criteria, which includes operating one or more distressed hospitals in Rhode Island, to qualify for an expedited review."

To access the full report, click here.

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