Care New England Health System of Providence, R.I., and Southcoast Health System of New Bedford, Mass., announced Monday that they are exploring a merger.
The two organizations have signed a letter of intent to engage in exclusive discussions regarding the formation of a new not-for-profit to oversee both systems. Care New England has four hospitals while Southcoast is a three-campus system.
Care New England's board of directors has been looking for a strategic partner and has received proposals from a number of organizations, If the two organizations agree to affiliate, the combined organization would include two accountable care organizations, over 1,700 aligned physicians and providers, and academic relationships with a number of organizations, including Care New England's relationship with the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
“We believe that Southcoast can be a strong and complementary partner for Care New England, and that together our respective organizations could form the foundation of a highly competitive, community-based and value-driven integrated healthcare system throughout southern New England,” said Keith Hovan, Southcoast CEO, in a statement.
Care New England is no stranger to industry affiliations. Last year, it expanded its cardiovascular services through a partnership with Brigham and Women's Hospital. The Boston-based hospital agreed to staff Care New England's hospitals with cardiovascular specialists and provide additional assistance via telemedicine.
“Southcoast represents the best possible choice in enabling us to move forward strengthening quality, transitioning to population health, improving the value proposition, finding the right structural and cultural fit for both organizations, and maintaining our valued relationships with key academic, provider and organizational partners,” said George W. Shuster, chairman of the Care New England's board, in a statement.
If the systems agree to merge, the deal would still be subject to regulatory approval.