Lifetime, Care New England merger application deemed complete

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Rhode Island’s two largest healthcare systems Lifespan and Care New England had their application of the Hospital Conversions Act deemed complete and accepted for review by Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, according to a Press release of the Attorney General’s office.

The review period under the HCA began on November 17 and will last 120 days. After the review period, the Attorney General will decide whether to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the merger.

According to the press release, “an HCA application is considered complete when sufficient information has been provided by the parties to the transaction to begin consideration” and constitutes “a procedural step”. Nonetheless, completeness does not indicate that “regulators have resolved all of their questions or that new questions will not arise as the review progresses.”

Once the merger request is complete, the attorney general’s office will “make confidentiality determinations” by Dec. 30, wrote Kristy dosReis, public information officer at the attorney general’s office, in an email to Herald. The request will be made public once the process is complete, and public meetings will be scheduled within two months of the day the request is made public.

Lifespan and Care New England had submitted a revised request to the Attorney General’s office on October 1 to answer questions of “charitable care, quality, population health, health equity and diversity,” The Herald previously reported .

The University announced in April that it had signed agreements to form an integrated university health system with Lifespan and Care New England, a partnership through which Brown will contribute to medical research and education while the two health systems will provide clinical practice and resources from teaching hospitals. The ultimate goal of the system will be to provide the people of Rhode Island with world-class physicians and “health care from birth to end of life,” President Christina Paxson P’19 previously wrote in an email. at the Herald.

University spokesman Brian Clark wrote in an email to the Herald that “Brown is not a direct party to the merger under review.” He added that acceptance of the application does not affect the University’s plan to have an “affiliation agreement” with the “new merged entity” if the merger is approved.

According to a joint statement – which was reviewed by The Herald – by Lifespan President and CEO Timothy Babineau, Care New England President and CEO James Fanale and Paxson, Lifespan and Care New England had asked the Rhode Island Foundation to “lead an independent body to review and provide recommendations on how best to build an integrated academic health care system in Rhode Island that is inclusive and beneficial for all.” “

The RI Foundation has led an independent effort to “gather and share community feedback aimed at informing the proposed Lifespan / Care New England Hospital merger and the creation of an integrated academic health system through affiliation with Brown University, ”according to a Nov. 17 IR. Foundation Press release.

The RI Foundation assembled a 25-member committee, aiming to “develop a clear set of recommendations for consideration by the Department of Health, Attorney General’s Office, elected officials, Lifespan, Care New England, Brown University and the community at large ”.

In a report Released on November 17, the RI Foundation defined eight “priority areas” including “equity”, “access”, “workforce”, “community responsibility” and “governance”. The report also contains contributions from “several community outreach efforts”.

Babineau, Fanale and Paxson wrote that “equity, access and community responsibility to ensure affordable and quality health care” are “at the heart of (their) efforts to develop a university health system for the benefit of persons of (their) State ”.

They wrote that the report’s findings are “fully aligned” with their belief that the merged entity and the University should form a system that “meets the needs of everyone in our community, regardless of race, language and income. “.

State Representative David Morales MPA’19 (D-Providence) urged “State regulators must carefully weigh the potential effects on patient care and employment when analyzing the proposed merger between the two largest health care systems in the state.”

“We have to be extremely careful with a proposal that seeks to create a gigantic conglomerate in an industry which by its very nature requires personal and individual care,” Morales said in a press release dated 16 July. November.

Morales expressed concern about the “potential for rising healthcare costs, poorer patient care and layoffs of workers,” adding that strict regulations must be enforced if such a merger is to go forward. forward, as “a cap on hospital revenues, measures that demonstrate an improvement in the quality of care received by patients and stricter monitoring of employment practices.”

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