Brown University Announces Potential Merger Discussions with Care New England

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Brown University recently announced that the University was in potential merger discussions with Care New England (CNE), RI’s second largest healthcare system and an important affiliate of Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School, to block CNE’s acquisition by Boston-based Partners HealthCare.

In a letter to the Brown Community, Brown University Christina Paxson writes that RI has all the necessary ingredients to create an integrated academic health system that provides RI citizens the best medical care in the world and an engine for economic growth.  These ingredients include:

  • Outstanding hospitals and a talented healthcare workforce
  • A distinguished medical school that educates many of our physicians and attracts world-class doctors
  • A leading school of public health with a strong local focus; and a growing portfolio of externally funded research and industrial partnerships.

An acquisition of CNE by an out-of-state healthcare conglomerate threatens to undermine this potential and lead to a loss of healthcare providers to Massachusetts; increased cost of care; decreased control over how our healthcare system works; and the loss of an industry driver for economic transformation.

Furthermore, as she notes in a Providence Business Journal op-ed, after a decade of consolidations in the healthcare system, rather than seeing improvement in delivery, “larger health systems use their market power to negotiate higher prices, harming the patients, employers, and taxpayers.”

What RI needs, according to Paxson, is not consolidation but integration. She explains in the Brown Community letter how strengthening our integrated academic health system lies at the heart of the University’s plan:

“Brown believes that (its plan to acquire CNE)… positions us to create the healthcare system that Rhode Island deserves. Over the long run, we envision (CNE’s premier specialty hospitals) serving as resources for all healthcare systems in the state. We also envision them as vital pieces of an integrated academic health system that includes Lifespan, Brown’s valued partner in medical education and research. This integrated system would deepen collaboration with other Rhode Island health care providers, insurers, and public officials to deliver affordable, high-quality healthcare.”

Many uncertainties lie ahead at this point. For example, the state may permit a CNE-Partners merger to take place. If it doesn’t, it would need to decide if the Brown approach is the right one. Regardless of the outcome, Brown is proving its commitment to creating a roadmap for high quality and affordable healthcare. We invite you to join us on this journey.

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