Lifespan fails to reach merger deal with Partners HealthCare, Care New England

merger and acquisition
Lifespan's merger talks with Partners and Care New England have ended. (istocksdaily)

Merger talks between Lifespan, Partners HealthCare and Care New England Health System have come to an end without a deal.

Lawrence Aubin, chair of Lifespan’s board of directors, said the system remains open to future partnerships but was unable to reach an agreement with Partners and Care New England, the Providence Journal reported.

“While we are disappointed, Lifespan remains focused on the healthcare needs of our community with a continued commitment to providing world-class, compassionate care based in Rhode Island,” Aubin said.

It was announced in February that Lifespan, the largest system in Rhode Island, could jump into the planned merger between Partners and Care New England. The deal was framed less as a merger and more of a collaboration aimed at strengthening care delivery in the state.

Lifespan CEO Timothy Babineau, M.D., said at the time that the system has “always been interested in partnering with like-minded, superb organizations.”

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Partners revealed in April 2017 that it intended to acquire Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest health system, and the path for that deal has been rocky.

Brown University revealed in January that it was working with Prospect Medical Holdings, a for-profit California health system, to acquire Care New England. Doing so, the university said, would keep services and doctors in-state instead of potentially shifting them to Boston, where Partners is headquartered.

Care New England chose to move forward instead with Partners, entering into a definitive agreement with the Massachusetts system just weeks after Brown’s plans were announced.

“We look forward to the opportunity this now affords and what it means for delivery of high-quality healthcare for our patients, the community we serve and our vital academic partnerships,” CEO James Fanale, M.D., said.

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Brown President Christina Paxson said adding Lifespan into the mix indicated Care New England was looking to continue to improve care in Rhode Island, but expressed concern that a deal could drive up healthcare costs.

Spokespeople for Partners and Care New England told the Journal that the two systems would continue to work with Lifespan, even though a formal deal could not be reached.

“While our current discussions with Lifespan are not moving forward, we are hopeful in the years ahead we can continue to work collaboratively with them to ensure that patients in Rhode Island have access to excellent care,” Rich Copp, Partners spokesperson, told the newspaper.