Healthcare workers sound off on Lifespan, Care New England Merger

PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE) –  Tonight public opinion was heard on the merger of Lifespan and Care New England, two of the largest hospital systems in Rhode Island which include Miriam, Hasbro, Butler, and Women & Infant’s Hospitals.

While leadership for the two organizations say the merger would mean better quality care for patients, some say it’s more of a monopoly. “This is all about coming together to ensure that we can deliver great quality healthcare to the citizens of Rhode Island,” said Dr. James Fanale, CEO & President of Care New England.

Dr. Timothy James Babineau of Rhode Island Hospital backed the statement. “My ethics as a doctor would not allow for me to advocate for this merger as strongly as I am advocating for it if I thought in any way it would do harm.”

Yet Dr. Frank Savoretti, a longtime Primary Care Physician in Johnston who has been in practice for over 30 years, questioned the legality of the move. “This monopoly, which is illegal on its face, would allow them to quickly put all the little guys like would take very little for them to create a situation that would put me out of practice.”

An independent investigation by Tripp Umbach commissioned by Brown University found merging the healthcare system would increase the annual economic impact of the state academic medicine sector from 8.2 billion in 2020 to 11.5 billion by 2035. Despite the revenue the merger would accrue, some frontline workers were concerned for their jobs.

Kelli, a Registered Nurse at Women & Infants Hospital, worried about what options she would have should she ever decide to leave her employer. “If I lose my job for whatever reason once this is in place, it’s going to be really difficult to find another position as a nurse in a hospital.”

A second worker, Alan Bullock who works two jobs at Women & Infants Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital, worries he’d no longer be able to work both jobs that not only support his income but allow the other hospital to benefit from his years of experience. “I wouldn’t be able to have my second job.”

A second public forum is scheduled for January 26th from 3-5pm to take additional public comment.

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