Care New England Health System and Massachusetts-based Partners HealthCare announced Wednesday that they have agreed to extend the deadline for reaching agreement on a proposed merger through January 2018.
The agreement was set to expire Dec. 31st.
The extension maintains “exclusive negotiating terms between the two organizations as they continue to pursue a definitive agreement,” the joint statement reads.
Care New England spokesman James Beardsworth declined further comment on the matter.
Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital chain signed a “letter of intent” last April to sell its network – except for Memorial Hospital of Pawtucket – to Partners.
Memorial employed about 800 people, 600 of them full-time, as of mid-October, when the company announced plans to close the hospital. The announcement came after a deal to sell the facility fell through.
Care New England plans to convert the full-service community hospital to an outpatient center for family care and internal medicine with a walk-in clinic. Care New England has said the plan would include keeping about 200 employees in Pawtucket.
The plan is pending approval by the state Department of Health.
In addition to Memorial, Care New England’s health system includes Women & Infants, Butler and Kent Hospitals, The Providence Center and VNA of Care New England.