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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Care New England, Rhode Island’s second largest hospital network, and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island announced Monday morning that they have signed a letter of intent, reaffirming the benefits of a new partnership.
Exclusive discussions between the two nonprofit hospital entities began in June, with the goal of exploring the creation of an integrated delivery network as the business model for health care shifts toward a population-based, global payment system.
The letter of intent was approved unanimously by both boards and signed by Dennis D. Keefe, president and CEO of Care New England and Arthur DeBlois III, interim president and CEO of Memorial Hospital.
“We are now in an intense due diligence phase, and are encouraged by the multiple opportunities for synergies between our two organizations,” DeBlois said in prepared remarks. “The shared values and vision of Memorial Hospital and Care New England make for a great cultural fit. A strategic partnership will allow both organizations to enhance patient care, advance our academic missions and improve community access to health care.”
“As we have studied the potential, and counterparts from both organizations have initiated discussions, it validates the hopes we have placed in this partnership,” said Keefe in a statement. “Together we will be better able to respond to the new world of population-based care and payment reform and help transform the future of health care for our state and region.”
The next formal step will be to sign a memorandum of understanding upon conclusion of the due diligence phase, according to Dyana Koelsch, spokeswoman for Memorial Hospital. The organizations will then move forward to seek regulatory approval. It is expected that the two hospital entities will seek an expedited review under new Hospital Conversions Act.
The partnership would seek to create a continuum of care for patients, across geographic and clinical lines, with the goal of improving health of the population, enhancing the patients’ experience of care and controlling the per capita cost of care.