Southcoast Health, Care New England end plans to affiliate

In separate actions undertaken by their respective governance Boards, Southcoast Health and Care New England have voted to terminate their agreement to affiliate the two not-for-profit health care systems. The announcement was made today by Jean MacCormack, chair of the Southcoast Health Board of Trustees, and Charles R. Reppucci, chair of the Care New England Board of Directors.


The organizations first announced they would study a potential partnership in November 2015 when Care New England selected Southcoast Health through a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process. An announcement to proceed with a closer affiliation was made in May 2016. Since that time, while conducting due diligence reviews and preparing regulatory filings, the parties have come to recognize that their visions for the combined system could no longer be achieved. Southcoast Health and Care New England are parting on amicable terms and will continue their longstanding collegial relationship in the southeastern New England community.


“Care New England and Southcoast share a vision of creating a healthier community through community-based care,” said Reppucci. “We believe both organizations will continue in their unrelenting pursuit of this goal. Yet, for Care New England, we now believe the full extent of our mission as teaching, research and clinical organizations will be better served through today’s decision. We wish all of our colleagues at Southcoast continued success in their commitment to excellence and to community.”


“We have a great deal of respect for our counterparts at Care New England, their staff and their high-quality programs. However, we believe that it is best for both parties to end affiliation discussions,” said MacCormack. “When we entered into this process, we did so with the promise that we would always keep the best interests of our patients, communities, physicians and staff at the forefront of our deliberations. We held true to that promise throughout this process, including with today’s announcement.”


Regulatory officials in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been notified of today’s decision. An application seeking approval for the proposed affiliation had been filed with the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission in late August, and work had been underway for several months on the regulatory filings for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Massachusetts Office of Attorney General, and the Rhode Island Department of Health and Rhode Island Office of Attorney General.


“We appreciate that Care New England identified Southcoast Health as the best potential partner during their RFP process, and we have enjoyed getting to know many of their employees,” said Keith A. Hovan, president and CEO of Southcoast Health. “This was one opportunity that presented many potential benefits for both organizations, and, as we said from the beginning, Southcoast Health would always do what is best for our patients, communities, physicians and staff.”


He added, “Southcoast Health is fortunate in that we are well positioned in all aspects to confidently move forward. We are continuing to make strategic investments for growth that will provide our patients with even greater access to clinically excellent care close to home. While our strategic plans no longer include Care New England, we will continue to explore all options and opportunities to best serve our patients. We wish our colleagues at Care New England well in their future pursuits and endeavors, and we thank all those in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and our local regions, including elected and community leaders, for their interest and support throughout this process.”


Dennis D. Keefe, president and CEO of Care New England, expressed gratitude for the Southcoast and Care New England governance, leadership, and advisory teams for their months of effort working to advance the proposed partnership. “There has been tremendous work that has gone on throughout this process. One tangible outcome of all this effort is coming to know some very fine people at Southcoast, and we hope to continue in these relationships as both organizations work to improve the health and well-being of our community across the region.


“Care New England has worked strenuously in the past year to improve its financial position and its programmatic excellence,” Keefe continued. “Over the coming months, we will reassess the local environment and, in working with our Board, our physicians and management team, determine our strategic plans for the future. I believe we are poised for a strong future.”