By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Lifespan, the state’s largest hospital network, received state approval to expand its network in a new partnership with Gateway Healthcare, the region’s largest community behavioral health organization, hospital officials announced on May 13.
The approval by the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals comes a year after Lifespan and Gateway first announced their intent to affiliate. The two organizations plan to finalize the partnership on July 1.
Gateway, which will maintain its name, will continue to manage its network of partners that offers care in 42 locations. Those partners include: Capital City Community Centers, Caritas Inc., Friends Way, The Autism Project, New Hope for Families, and South Shore Center.
“The capabilities that Gateway brings to Lifespan will help us to re-integrate psychiatric, behavioral and medical issues,” said Dr. Richard J. Goldberg, senior vice president for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health for Lifespan.
The partnership will create new models of coordination for behavioral health services at a time when recent data has shown that Rhode Islanders are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues, according to Lifespan officials.
“Our partnership with Gateway is an important next step,” said Dr. Timothy J. Babineau, president and CEO of Lifespan. “By working together, we can advance our shared vision of improving access for residents and continue creating a truly integrated delivery system that is built around a patient-centric model.”
Richard Leclerc, president of Gateway, said the partnership combines the expertise and reach of two of the region’s leading health care providers. “As the region’s largest community behavioral health organization, Gateway is able to leverage its network of community-based services with the robust hospital-based services offered by Lifespan through its partner hospitals,” said Leclerc.
For the past four years, Gateway has provided behavioral health triage services in the emergency departments of Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Recently, Gateway and Bradley Hospital, a Lifespan partner, launched a joint program called KidsLink, a hotline for children in emotional crisis.
Earlier this year, Care New England, the state’s second largest hospital network, announced a strategic affiliation agreement with The Providence Center to integrate and strengthen behavioral health services across community-based and hospital-bases systems of care.