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Rhode Island health systems to merge, create academic health system with Brown University

Two Providence, R.I.-based systems — Lifespan and Care New England Health System — have inked a definitive agreement to merge into a single organization and create an integrated academic health system in partnership with Brown University.

As part of the agreement, Providence-based Brown has pledged to invest $125 million over five years to support the creation and integration of the academic health system. Brown will also have representatives on the board of the newly merged health system and will play "a key role in integrating medical education and research with clinical practice across the combined system's hospitals," according to the news release. 

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.

However, 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 of the deal, the organizations launched a campaign, including a website called HealthierRI.com.

They will also need approval from the Rhode Island Department of Health, the state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission. 

"What I am most excited about is the ability of our new, locally based, academic health system to compete at a national level, innovate, attract top talent, develop new scientific knowledge, improve the care we deliver and serve as an economic engine for Providence and the state," said Lifespan President and CEO Timothy Babineau, MD. "This is an exciting moment-in-time, we cannot let it slip through our grasp yet again."

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