Partners, Care New England merger moving ahead

Boston’s Partners HealthCare and Providence, R.I.-based Care New England have agreed to enter into a definitive merger agreement, though one has not yet been signed nine months after the systems began exclusive negotiations.

The systems have extended their talks even as Partners looked warily at Care New England’s losses in 2017. The announcement that talks are advancing toward a conclusion comes soon after Brown University publicly floated its own bid for Care New England.

“Today’s announcement, which was approved by the Boards of Directors of Care New England and Partners HealthCare, marks an important milestone in the exclusive negotiations,” the systems said in a press release. “The definitive agreement represents a more formal document that would outline the details and plans for the actual transaction. Following the development and execution of the definitive agreement, it is expected the organizations would move forward with the needed state and federal regulatory approvals.”

The deal would include Care New England’s Kent Hospital in Warwick; Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence; the VNA of Care New England, based in Warwick; Butler Hospital in Providence; and The Providence Center in several Rhode Island locations.

“Our lengthy discussions and due diligence with CNE have strengthened our relationship and further solidified our interest in building on the successful clinical collaboration we have already developed together,” said Partners president and CEO David Torchiana, MD. “We are also aware of and deeply respectful of the other components of the Rhode Island health care landscape and hope to find common ground and mutually beneficial pathways to improve the academic strength of the hospital programs and maximize the benefit to the Rhode Island economy.”