OP-ED

CNE/Brigham deal will benefit Rhode Island's health care system

Posted

The proposed acquisition of Care New England by Boston’s Brigham Health will enhance Rhode Islanders’ quality of care and provide easier, affordable access to health care in Rhode Island, and will have a significant influence on our state’s economy.

We are very proud of the many fine local hospitals, doctors and other clinicians Rhode Islanders have as a resource for health care. The principal benefit of the proposed acquisition is the ability to keep patients close to home, as evidenced by the Kent Hospital - Brigham cardiology and colorectal surgery partnership.   

The premise of the CNE-Brigham affiliation is to import an enhanced level of health care to Rhode Island. Brigham Health ranks at the top of the list in regional and national performance metrics, in health care as well as in medical education and research. Excellence in these spheres translates into cutting-edge clinical services and new medical technology being available to those who reside within Rhode Island.

A major part of what Brigham Health will bring to Rhode Island is an infusion of medical talent that would be immediately accessible to our community. Not to be ignored, however, is the financial strength of the Partners system, which will lower borrowing costs and provide needed access to capital to renovate our existing facilities and build new, easily accessible patient centered facilities for those requiring less than inpatient hospital care. New capital will provide the means to purchase technologically advanced software and cutting-edge medical equipment.

Hospital costs in the proposed acquisition would remain completely subject to negotiations with Rhode Island health insurers as well as the regulatory oversight of the RI Office of Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC). Medical decisions in Rhode Island are currently and will continue to be made by physicians licensed in Rhode Island. This is not only good medicine, it is required by law.

The Care New England - Brigham affiliation will safeguard medical education in Rhode Island.  The Brown University Program in Medicine has recently renegotiated a new three-way partnership agreement with Care New England and the Brigham.

Also, of note is that there are already three out-of-state health care systems operating in Rhode Island. The Yale – New Haven System with Westerly Hospital, Prospect – Charter Care owning St Joseph and Fatima hospitals and Prime Healthcare owning Landmark in Woonsocket.

The focus of remaining regulatory review of Care New England’s proposed acquisition should be on the merits of the transaction and the benefits that will be achieved by expanding CNE’s relationship with Brigham Health. The primary questions important to the citizens of this great state are: Does this merger improve the quality and access to health care in Rhode Island? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Will there be any negative impact on the affordability of care in Rhode Island? The answer is clearly no.

We, the Care New England Board of Directors, believe the proposed acquisition of Care New England by Boston’s Brigham Health will support high-quality, affordable and accessible care for Rhode Islanders and benefit our state economy.

This opinion editorial is signed by Care New England Board Chairman Charles Reppucci; Maribeth Williamson and Gary Furtado, Vice Chairpersons; Douglas Jacobs, Treasurer; James Botvin, Secretary; Joseph McGair, Cynthia Patterson, Mario Bueno, Sharon Conard-Wells, Kent Gladding, William Kapos, Patrick Murray, George Schuster, James Fanale, MD, President and CEO, Kevin Baill MD, Jason Boudjouk MD, Tolga Kokturk MD.

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