by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | December 11, 2020
Care New England has said no thanks to a $550 million buyout offer from Pennsylvania’s StoneBridge Healthcare.
The healthcare system, which is the second largest in Rhode Island, is instead focusing on ongoing talks for a merger with healthcare system Lifespan Corporation to create a unified system with Brown University, according to the Providence Journal
“It’s abundantly clear that the best direction for Rhode Island’s healthcare future is the creation of a robust academic health system with the merger of Care New England and Lifespan, and a deep affiliation with Brown University,” said CNE president and CEO Dr. James Fanale in a statement.
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StoneBridge made the offer this week in a letter sent to the CNE board. The healthcare system offered to buy out CNE for $250 million and invest $300 million in capital improvements over six years. Employees' pension plans would also have been fully funded.
"We believe that StoneBridge Healthcare is in a strong position to help Care New England to continue delivering cutting-edge care to the communities it serves for years to come,” said Joshua Nemzoff, chief executive officer for StoneBridge Healthcare, in a statement.
Ray Sullivan, a spokesperson for the United Nurses and Allied Professionals union, which represents staff at both CNE and Stonebridge, opposes such a union. “Our experience with Prospect CharterCARE and others has taught us that out-of-state equity fund groups care more about enriching investors than Rhode Island patients and health workers. While we still have a number of serious concerns and questions about a Lifespan/Care New England merger, we believe that deal has potential and should continue to be thoroughly vetted.”
Talks of a merger between CNE and Lifespan began in September, with CNE agreeing to negotiate such an agreement only with Lifespan, reported the Providence Journal
. This exclusivity agreement bars CNE and its executives from entering similar talks with other interested buyers.