Boston-based integrated system Partners HealthCare will acquire Care New England Health System of Providence, R.I.
The two not-for-profit systems said Wednesday they have signed a letter of intent to negotiate a deal just a few months after Care New England’s proposed merger with New Bedford, Mass.-based Southcoast Health System fell through.
The deal with Partners would include Care New England-owned facilities Kent Hospital in Warwick, R.I.; Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence; the VNA of Care New England in Warwick; Butler Hospital in Providence; and the Providence Center in several locations across the state.
The two are just beginning negotiations and it could take two to three months before a definitive agreement is reached, Care New England President Dennis Keefe said in a conference call Wednesday.
Any definitive agreement would still have to gain approval from state and federal regulators.
Care New England chose to make a deal with Partners after reviewing more than 12 other health care organizations because the Care New England already has long-standing affiliations with Partners’ Brigham and Women’s Hospital and McLean Hospital.
Care New England executives also said Partners stood out for quality, healthcare outcomes, research and its focus on population health.
Charles Reppucci, Care New England’s board chair, said Wednesday that combined scale of the two systems would lead to reduced health costs.
The deal does not include Care New England’s struggling 294-bed Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, R.I.
Instead, that hospital will be sold to Prime Healthcare Foundation, a not-for-profit community hospital system based in Ontario, Calif. and affiliated with the larger for-profit Prime Healthcare system.
Memorial Hospital, which is affiliated with Brown University, has been a drag on Care New England’s operating income since it joined the system in 2013.
Care New England recorded an operating loss of $68.3 million in 2016. Its revenue totaled $1.2 billion in 2016.
Last year Memorial Hospital laid off workers and closed certain departments. At the time, Keefe said a surplus of beds, “flagging inpatient income,” and federal payment changes prompted the decision.