- Brown University, along with Prospect Medical Holdings, is interested in entering into merger negotiations with the state's second largest health system, Care New England, according to Brown President Christina Paxson.
- Care New England is currently in merger discussions with Massachusetts-based Partners Health Systems. The systems extended negotiations through the end of the month.
- "I feel strongly that letting this acquisition go forward would be wrong for Rhode Island and for Brown," Paxson wrote. "Doing so is likely to lead to specialty healthcare shifting to Massachusetts, impeding access to healthcare for Rhode Islanders and especially for members of the state’s underserved communities."
Care New England is juggling multiple suitors.
In addition to Partners and Brown-Prospect, Rhode Island health system competitor Lifespan has been interested in a merger with the system.
Each party has different intentions in mind.
Combining Lifespan and CNE would create a powerhouse in the tiny state. A Partners acquisition would expand the Massachusetts player's reach by entering the Ocean State.
Brown University's Paxson wrote that she is concerned over how a Partners acquisition could affect the costs and the health industry in the state. She wrote it "would likely increase the cost of care and reduce the ability of Rhode Islanders...to have a voice in how our healthcare system works."
She added a worry that state's physicians could choose to practice in the neighboring Bay State as opposed to Rhode Island.
"In addition, the full economic benefits of a strong local academic health system — one that brings in federal grants, generates spin-off companies and creates new jobs in Rhode Island— would be lost, perhaps forever," Paxson wrote.
Brown would gain the ownership of a teaching hospital, a property the Ivy League school lacks.
The alternative proposal will certainly escalate CNE-Partners negotiations, with a fair amount of leverage on CNE's side.
The two parties expect a decision to be made by February.