Nearly two years after announcing plans to merge, two major Rhode Island healthcare systems have yet to submit a completed application to the state health department and Rhode Island attorney generals office for review.
Four-hospital Lifespan Corp. and three-hospital Care New England announced plans to merge in July 2007, but the effort has stalled since meeting with merger-application problems last summer. The two systems initial merger application was deemed incomplete and rejected for review by the health department and state attorney generals office in June 2008. The providers were told to resubmit the application with additional information and ask to provide the review board with complete access to all of the two systems documents. Nearly a year later, Lifespan and Care New England have yet to refile the application.
Lifespan spokeswoman Linda Shelton declined to comment on the delay and said she couldnt speculate when the merger application would be resubmitted. We continue to work on updating our application for seven hospitals and two health systems, which is a very complex process. Its premature to discuss anything else at this point.
A spokeswoman for the Hospital Association of Rhode Island said her organization could shed little light on the mergers status, and state health department officials and the attorney generals office said there has been no movement on the application since last year.
The stalled merger may well be a case of history repeating itself. Lifespan and Care New England first attempted to merge in the late 1990, but the effort fell apart two years later.