Care New England, the parent organization of Women and Infants, Memorial, Butler, and Kent Hospitals, as well as The Providence Center, has announced it’s pursuing a formal alliance with Southcoast Health. The two health systems face several hurdles before their partnership can be official.
The boards of both organizations approved the proposed affiliation today after announcing its possibility last November. What happens next is a regulatory review process in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where Southcoast has a chain of community hospitals.
The goal, say the two groups, is to be combined under a new nonprofit entity that would employ more than 15,000 people in total.
Care New England faces scrutiny in Rhode Island now over its proposal to end obstetrics and intensive care services at Memorial hospital because of financial losses. Some labor union members fear this affiliation could spell the end of Memorial hospital and, along with it, jobs. Care New England has said it does not want to close Memorial completely.
The news comes as other health care systems and hospitals struggle to make ends meet and hope to salve their financial wounds with a partnership. There's only one independent hospital remaining in Rhode Island: South County Hospital.