Memorial, Care New England join forces

Memorial, Care New England join forces

Merger means high-quality care, continued job stability

PAWTUCKET - More than a year after launching the process to affiliate, leaders from Care New England Health System and Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island gathered last week to sign the closing paperwork signifying the completion of the deal.

The new partnership is expected to enhance services at Memorial Hospital while creating a more sustainable business model for the Pawtucket-based community hospital going into the future, according to leaders of the two entities.

Dennis Keefe, president and CEO of CNE, and Arthur DeBlois III, interim president and CEO of Memorial, were flanked by hospital employees and CNE leaders as they finalized the regulatory process for Memorial to become the fourth hospital partner in CNE, joining Butler, Kent and Women & Infants hospitals. CNE also includes the Care New England Wellness Center and the VNA of Care New England.

"It is very exciting to be at this point, and to officially welcome Memorial Hospital to Care New England," said Keefe. "The system as a whole has been keenly focused on improving the way health care is delivered to our patients and their families. Memorial Hospital and its rich legacy in the Blackstone Valley is an ideal addition to our system."

He added, "This step today enhances Care New England's position as an integrated health delivery system, positioning us effectively for change and enabling us to help lead the transformation of health care in this region."

DeBlois also reflected on the turning page in Memorial's history book.

"Memorial has a proud legacy of serving the people of this area and we look forward to continuing to do so as part of the Care New England health system," he said. "This new venture for Memorial ensures we will also be able to provide an expanded constellation of specialty services to our patients."

Donald Grebien, mayor of Pawtucket and a supporter of the affiliation, echoed both Keefe and DeBlois.

"For more than a century, Memorial Hospital has been an outstanding community partner with the city of Pawtucket, and most importantly, an outstanding care provider for the people of the city, the Blackstone Valley and beyond," said Grebien. "Indeed, in the first annual report for the hospital, its president stated, 'It was organized and is conducted for the benefit of the community' and that has been true ever since."

Grebien said that Memorial "has built bridges of cutting-edge medical care and training with Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School and Boston's Brigham & Women's Hospital. Care New England will make an excellent partner in continuing and expanding those traditions. This agreement will also importantly assure the ongoing stability of one of our city's largest employers, as well as the continued excellent medical care for which Memorial has always been known."

The closing came two months after the affiliation received state approval from Director of Health Michael Fine and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. The process included public review by the Health Services Council as part of the Department of Health's Change in Effective Control review, and review by the Department of Health and Office of the Attorney General under Rhode Island's Hospital Conversions Act.

Based on their reviews, state officials determined that the affiliation met the criteria and standards set by state law. The affiliation was endorsed by physicians, civic leaders and organizations, businesses, public officials and other community members.

The new CNE-MHRI partnership includes the organizations' commitment to provide ongoing clinical excellence through a comprehensive range of services, as well as sustain the strong academic and research programs at Memorial, which has served the greater Pawtucket community for more than 125 years. CNE and Memorial leaders envision that their partnership will bring to the expanded and enhanced CNE system:

* Improvement of quality of clinical programs and services;

* Patient access to a broader continuum of services over an expanded service area;

* Development of signature service lines, including women's health, behavioral health, primary care, cardiovascular services, and home health;

* Maintenance of the strong academic and research platform that is essential to fostering clinical excellence and innovation;

* Enhancement of physician recruitment, retention and integration initiatives;

* Improvement of facilities, technology and information technology platforms;

* Development of an integrated delivery system in which patient care is coordinated across the full continuum of care for population health management;

* And operational efficiencies to improve performance and reduce costs.

For more visit carenewengland.org or www.mhri.org .