Rhode Island's two largest healthcare systems have taken the next step in their proposed merger by filing their application with the state Department of Health and the state attorney general's office.
Lifespan and Care New England in a statement Monday said they expect the regulatory approval process to take several months.
The systems earlier this month submitted their antitrust filing with the Federal Trade Commission.
The organizations in February announced they had signed a merger agreement that includes a collaboration with Brown University's medical school to create what they called an integrated statewide healthcare system. There had been previous efforts to merge, but talks resumed last summer, prompted by increased cooperation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Critics of the deal have said a merger could drive up healthcare costs and cost jobs.
The Rhode Island Foundation on Monday said it would lead an "independent effort to gather and share community input" on the proposal, including from those who might otherwise not have a voice in this process.
Lifespan operates Rhode Island, the Miriam, Hasbro Children's, Newport, and Bradley hospitals. Care New England runs Women & Infants, Kent, and Butler hospitals.