The Corporation and Lifespan's Board of Directors voted separately this month on a "new nonbinding term sheet” to extend and expand the existing partnership between the two institutions, according to an Oct. 24 Today@Brown announcement.
With the existing affiliation agreement between the University and Lifespan, a hospital and health system that operates in Rhode Island, expiring at the end of 2023, “this is a natural time for conversations about extending our agreement,” wrote University President Christina Paxson P’19 P’MD’20 and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Mukesh Jain in the announcement.
On Oct. 20, WPRI reported that “advanced talks” were underway between the University and Lifespan, including the possibility of renaming the Lifespan health system to “Brown Health.” WPRI later confirmed the rebranding on Oct. 23, though neither party has confirmed the naming.
Lifespan is currently the state’s largest hospital system with over 1620 hospitals and clinics, according to its website. Three of these hospitals — Rhode Island, Miriam and Bradley hospitals — are academic teaching hospitals affiliated with the University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, Paxson and Jain wrote. Many Lifespan physicians in those hospitals are faculty members at the medical school, Paxson and Jain wrote.
“Both Brown and Lifespan collectively aspire to ensure robust health care services and biomedical research in Rhode Island and beyond” through means such as “creating the Rhode Island Life Science Hub” and “more well-paying jobs,” Paxson and Jain wrote. The institutions also hope to improve primary and specialty care access, according to the announcement.
Despite the proposed enhanced affiliation, Brown and Lifespan will remain distinct institutions, Paxson and Jain noted in the letter.
This partnership follows two other separate agreements that the University has made with Rhode Island hospital systems in the last two years.
Last November, the University, Lifespan and Care New England — another Rhode Island health care provider — signed an aligned research collaboration agreement to alleviate administrative burdens and “streamline operations.” And this March, the University signed an agreement with Care New England surrounding collaboration on biomedical health services research, The Herald previously reported.
In February 2022, Lifespan and Care New England withdrew an application that would have merged the two entities and created a unified academic health system in partnership with the University, The Herald also reported. The withdrawal came after Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha rejected the merger application.
The new agreements will not impact the University’s other affiliations with Care New England, the VA Providence Healthcare System, HopeHealth and Brown Physicians Inc., Paxson and Jain wrote.
They added that details of the possible agreement with Lifespan will be shared in the coming months.
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