Southcoast Health is announcing a potential partnership they say will create one of New England’s largest not-for-profit, community-based health care systems.

Peter Cohenno, Public Information Officer and New Media Specialist for Southcoast Health, announced Monday that they have signed a Letter of Intent with Providence-based Care New England Health System to create a new not-for-profit parent organization that would oversee both systems.

Cohenno says the Care New England Board of Directors chose to enter into exclusive negotiations with Southcoast Health after evaluating potential partners against defined criteria and considerations which included clinical program quality, population health management, physician enterprise, academic focus, governance and corporate infrastructure, capital commitment, community benefit, and mission alignment.

“Southcoast represents the best possible choice in enabling us to move forward strengthening quality, transitioning to population health, improving the value proposition, finding the right structural and cultural fit for both organizations, and maintaining our valued relationships with key academic, provider and organizational partners," said George W. Shuster, chairman of the CNE Board.

"We believe this partnership will truly be a win for our community.”

The Board of Southcoast Health also unanimously approved the Letter of Intent which will allow the two organizations to work toward the development of a definitive agreement.

“We are pleased that Care New England has selected Southcoast Health as their preferred choice to enter into exclusive negotiations,” said Jean MacCormack, chair of the Southcoast Board. “This partnership will further enable our health systems to continue providing our patients with the high quality care they have come to expect and deserve."

If an agreement is reached on partnership terms, it would then go through state and federal regulatory processes in order for the deal to be approved.

The new organization would have eight hospitals, an expansive network of ambulatory sites, two established accountable care organizations, and more than 1,700 aligned physicians and providers. The two organizations will now work toward developing a definitive agreement.

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