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Brown University, Prospect Medical announce plans to acquire Care New England group

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Brown University, in partnership with Prospect Medical, announced Thursday that they are interested in merging with Care New England (CNE) in a move that would shake up the Rhode Island healthcare landscape.

In a letter to the Brown campus community, President Christina Paxson outlined preliminary plans to acquire Care New England, an alternative to the merger currently being considered by Partners Healthcare, a Boston-based hospital network.

Paxson spoke out against the Partners acquisition, saying that it could quite possibly lead to specialty healthcare shifting to Massachusetts, and could result in many Rhode Islanders having less of a say in healthcare policy.

If the focal point of Rhode Island healthcare shifted to Massachusetts, Paxson said, “the full economic benefits of a strong local academic health system — one that brings in federal grants, generates spin-off companies and creates new jobs in Rhode Island— would be lost, perhaps forever.”

Paxson said the Brown-Prospect merger could create an integrated academic health system that would keep healthcare in Rhode Island, along with the associated economic benefits.

The key elements of the Brown-Prospect merger, Paxson explained, include either Brown University or Prospect Medical taking over operations at a number of Care New England Hospitals, including Women & Infants, Kent Hospital, Butler Hospital. Additionally the majority of any operating margins received by Brown would be reinvested in clinical care, medical research, and education.

Care New England announced last April that it would enter merger talks with Partners Healthcare. “Because CNE is currently in an exclusive arrangement with Partners, we have not been able to discuss the Brown-Prospect plan with its leaders”, said Paxson.

Brown University and Prospect Medical said they will move forward with their proposal if the Partners acquisition does not succeed.

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