Butler Hospital, RI, part of Care New England Credit: Google Street View
At the request of Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Partners HealthCare is nixing its bid to acquire Care New England, the second largest health system in the state.
At the same time Raimondo asked Lifespan, Care New England and Brown University to resume negotiations and determine whether they can come to an agreement that would create a locally-run, academic medical center in Rhode Island.
"While I have little control over private hospital systems, I do have the ability to bring these parties together and ask them to reconvene negotiations on a crucial decision that will impact all Rhode Islanders for decades," said Raimondo in a statement. "Partners is one of the best medical systems in the country, and we appreciate their interest in Rhode Island. Whether or not Rhode Island affiliates with a larger system at some point, I believe creating a more integrated, locally-run, academic structure first is what's in the best interest of Rhode Islanders now and in the long run."
Partners announced its intentions to acquire CNE in 2017, while Brown University signaled its intent to put in its own bid in 2018, in conjunction with Prospect Medical Holdings. Brown's goal was to retain doctors in-state rather than see them siphoned into Boston, where Partners is located.
Yet CNE entered into a definitive agreement with Partners in January 2018 following months of exclusive negotiations. In April 2017, CNE announced that it had elected to join Partners after an exhaustive nationwide search for candidates that included both for-profit and nonprofits systems. At that time, the two systems signed a Letter of Intent and CNE agreed to negotiate exclusively with Partners; 10 months of due diligence followed.
"In order to give this effort the best possible chance for success and to provide maximum flexibility to the governor and the leadership of these three institutions, we will be withdrawing our application to acquire CNE," said Partners Interim President and CEO Dr. Anne Klibanski. "We look forward to re-engaging at the appropriate time -- especially with a fully integrated local system. We greatly value our relationship in Rhode Island and want to do what's best for the state and its citizens."
Dr. James E. Fanale, president and CEO of Care New England, said the organization has agreed to further explore the option of a collaboration with Lifespan and Brown University, and "will begin discussions in earnest immediately because it is simply too important for Rhode Island's future."
The governor has called on the parties to work quickly over the summer to identify if they can move forward successfully. The Rhode Island Foundation and The Partnership for Rhode Island are providing financial support for consultant work.
Since 2009, Care New England has worked closely with Partners HealthCare through a clinical affiliation with Brigham and Women's Hospital in cardiology and vascular, thoracic, and colorectal surgery, as well as a long-standing collaborative relationship between McLean Hospital CNE's Butler Hospital for behavioral healthcare and innovative research locally within the Rhode Island community.