- Lifespan Chairman Lawrence Aubin, Sr., said the Providence, Rhode Island, health system is no longer in discussions with Partners HealthCare and Care New England about a potential collaboration.
- Aubin provided no explanation for the breakdown in talks, which began nine months ago when Partners and Care New England asked Lifespan to join ongoing merger discussions.
- CNE and Partners, Massachusetts' largest health system, signed a definitive agreement to merge in January.
Lifespan is Rhode Island's largest health system. CNE, the state's second largest system, had previously dismissed Lifespan's bids for merger discussions. CNE has lost roughly $115 million over the past two fiscal years, and the merger agreement with Partners included a plan to shore up its financials.
Whether any of those factors figured into the collapse of talks with Lifespan is unclear.
"Lifespan worked creatively and tirelessly toward a potential partnership with Partners HealthCare and Care New England," Aubin said in a statement "Unfortunately, Partners HealthCare and Lifespan could not reach an agreements and talks have ended."
Aubin added that while the outcome of the months-long talks is disappointing, officials "remain open to collaborations with like-minded organizations that are committed to our mission."
Horizontal mergers can be a lifeline for struggling hospitals and provide opportunities for systems to expand their footprint or share physician networks and services. Mergers can also be a way for organizations to increase bargaining power with commercial payers as hospitals deal with smaller Medicare reimbursements.
Lifespan isn't the only health system Partners has approached this year. In May, Partners made a bid for New Hampshire-based Exeter Health Resources as part of a larger regional plan to strengthen its New England presence. Under the plan, Exeter would become part of a new nonprofit regional health system that includes Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire, which Partners picked up last year.
Partners is also looking to broaden its footprint in the payer market. The company is currently in merger talks with Harvard Pilgrim Health, one of Massachusetts' largest health insurers.