After a rapid succession of clearances, the proposed merger of Rhode Island Hospital and Miriam Hospital is all but official.
The Federal Trade Commission in April had launched an inquiry into the union of the two largest hospitals in Providence, R.I., on antitrust grounds. But on July 21, the FTC informed the hospitals that it wouldn't oppose the consolidation.
Last week the state Health Services Council, an advisory panel to the Rhode Island Department of Health, recommended approval to the department's director. The two institutions said they're ready to consolidate once they get formal approval from Health Director Barbara DeBuono, M.D.
Also last week, the trustees of Miriam Hospital and the corporators of Rhode Island Hospital ratified the consolidation, said a spokeswoman for the merger. That plan involves creating a not-for-profit parent company with each hospital as a wholly owned subsidiary electing an equal number of directors to the parent board.
The 18 board members of the new system, which will be called Lifespan, are conducting a national search for a system president and chief executive officer. Both counterparts at the member institutions-William Kreykes at Rhode Island and Steven Baron at Miriam-will be considered, the spokeswoman said.
The two-hospital union, proposed late last December, is the first step in building an integrated healthcare network and enhancing the ties with Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, spokespersons said.
Together, the two acute-care hospitals control nearly half the staffed beds in Providence and nearly 20% of hospital beds in the state.