care new england

Kristin Gourlay

Major health care systems Care New England in Rhode Island and Southcoast Health in Massachusetts say they will end their affiliation plans. The move comes after months of talks about joining forces to create one of the largest systems in the region. In a statement, officials from both organizations say they believe their vision for a combined system could no longer be achieved.  

Regulators in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island had already been reviewing legal documents filed in support of the affiliation. They have been notified of the organizations’ plans.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

Here’s what’s happening in health in Rhode Island (for 7/19/16 - 7/26/16): federal drug czar visits, a new college at URI, community health grants, Zika funding, addiction treatment, a sports program for disabled veterans, and a health system merger proceeds, but not as quickly as the parties would like.

RIPR

Memorial Hospital is cutting back services and closing its maternity service. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Rhode Island’s health care system needs more consolidation.

Memorial Hospital

  Advocates for Memorial Hospital are keeping up their fight to stop the closure of the hospital’s birthing center. They’re calling for a halt while the hospital's parent company, Care New England, considers a merger with Southcoast Health System.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Care New England, the parent organization of Women and Infants, Memorial, Butler, and Kent Hospitals, as well as The Providence Center, has announced it’s pursuing a formal alliance with Southcoast Health. The two health systems face several hurdles before their partnership can be official.

The boards of both organizations approved the proposed affiliation today  after announcing its possibility last November. What happens next is a regulatory review process in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where Southcoast has a chain of community hospitals.

photo by Megan Hall

Consolidation is the name of the health care game right now – but is it good for patients?

Let's review what's in the works in our state right now:

Memorial Hospital

A nurses’ union has sued Memorial Hospital’s parent company, Care New England, to try to maintain obstetrics and other services at the Pawtucket-based community hospital. They're asking regulators to look for more alternatives to maintaining the hospital as it is.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The state health department must approve the proposal, but officials are seeking public input before making a decision.

More than 100 people gathered at a community center in Pawtucket to express their views on the proposed closure. Most urged health department officials to deny Memorial’s request because of their belief that the hospital provides women a birth experience like no other. Stacey Nichols had both of her children at Memorial Hospital.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Memorial Hospital plans to shut down several units at its Pawtucket location. Hospital officials announced births will move either to Kent Hospital or Women and Infants. 

Kristin Gourlay / ripr

Sixty thousand more Rhode Islanders - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island commercial health insurance members -  will be enrolled in health care projects designed to save money and improve care. 

With the state’s medical landscape in flux, more hospital workers are joining unions. The latest example is Butler Hospital in Providence, where an overwhelming majority of employees from three units voted to join Service Employees International Union’s Local 1199 on a 59-6 tally in a union election.

The new union units include Patient Assessment Service, Intake Coordinators, Clinical Access Specialists and unit secretaries.

Photo courtesy of Care New England

Care New England has entered exclusive talks with Southcoast Health System, a southeastern Massachusetts chain of community hospitals, about a possible affiliation. If state and federal regulators approve the partnership, the combined organization would become one of the largest in New England.

Lifespan and Care New England, Rhode Island’s two largest hospital systems, have quietly revived merger talks, Lifespan ceo and president, Dr. Timothy Babineau, said today.

In a brief interview, Babineau said the talks ``are in very early stages’’ and are in response to Care New England’s request for partnership proposals that was released last spring.

As Gov. Gina Raimondo's "Reinvent Medicaid" task force rockets toward the finish line, having recently spelled out more details about how the group recommends finding nearly $90 million dollars in savings from the program, they bring with them plenty of vocal feedback from health care stakeholders around the state. One hospital system, Care New England, has been a more dominant voice at the table, with the group's leader, Dennis Keefe, co-chairing the task force. The voice of the state's largest hospital system, Lifespan, has been less audible.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Talking about dying is difficult for most people, including doctors. But can they learn a better way to help patients nearing the end of their lives? Can health care systems learn to respect those wishes? Here’s one experiment to find out.

---

Dr. Kate Lally gathers a group of second year residents outside a patient’s room at Kent Hospital in Warwick. Lally explains the patient they’re about to examine is 34-year-old Melissa Smith. She has advanced ovarian cancer. Until now, she’s been in hospice care at home, keeping comfortable.

Pages