Care New England Health System announced Thursday it is moving ahead with its planned sale to Massachusetts-based Partners Health Care.
Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital group’s board of directors and the Partners’ board signed a “definitive agreement” for the sale, the companies said in a joint statement.
The agreement has produced a plan for the financially-ailing Care New England “to regain solid financial footing in the coming years,’’ the statement said.
The announcement follows just weeks after Brown University’s president went public with concerns about the Partners deal, proposing instead that the university partner with California-based Prospect Medical Holdings to take over Care New England.
In an apparent allusion Brown, Partners Health Care President and CEO David Torchianna said: “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.”
The announcement comes 10 months after Care New England said it entered exclusive negotiations to sell the system to Massachusetts’ largest hospital network.
The companies, both nonprofits, provided no definitive date for the consummation of a sale, saying only that they “hope to develop and executive the definitive agreement as soon as possible.”
The union representing health care employees said it looks forward to reviewing the agreement.
“Any plan for a health system to merge must ensure access to high quality health care for Rhode Island patients and good jobs for hospital workers,’’ Patrick J. Quinn, Executive Vice President, District 1199 SEIU New England, said in a statement. The union “will weigh in during the regulatory process after we have carefully reviewed the proposed agreement between Care New England and Partners.”
The deal needs approval of state health regulators in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Care New England owns three hospitals -- Women & Infants, Butler and Kent -- following last December's closure of the financially ailing Memorial in Pawtucket.
Partners – which owns Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals – is affiliated with Havard Medical Schools.