Health Care Research

Health system merger demands close scrutiny

Linda Katz, policy director of the Economic Progress Institute and chairperson of the Protect Our Healthcare Coalition, and Brenda Clement, director of HousingWorksRI, serve as their organizations’ representatives on the Protect Our Healthcare Coalition. Marjorie L. Waters, community organizer with the Rhode Island Organizing Project, contributed to this commentary.

The proposed Lifespan and Care New England merger provides a tremendous opportunity for Rhode Islanders to examine and reshape health and health care in our state. However, to achieve positive change with improvements in health, equity, access, and quality we must include diverse voices and put the public’s health — and the public’s trust — at the forefront of defining the system we need.

A merger of the scale proposed by Lifespan and Care New England will affect every Rhode Islander. Whether it’s your annual exam with your family physician, an urgent care visit, or a hospitalization, the merger will have an effect on the quality and cost of your experience. The newly merged system would also become the state’s single largest employer and would have significant power over what services are available, and how and where people can access them.