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Attorney General and Director of RIDOH deem Lifespan CNE merger application complete under the Hospital Conversions Act

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH announced today that the Lifespan/Care New England Hospital Conversions Act (HCA) application has been deemed complete and accepted for review. The review period under the HCA will commence November 17, 2021.

What does "complete" mean?

An HCA application is deemed complete when enough information has been provided by the transacting parties to begin the review. It is a procedural milestone in the review process of this transaction. "Completeness' does not mean that regulators have resolved all of their questions or that new questions will not arise as the review moves forward. During the review period, the Attorney General and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) will gather the information necessary to evaluate the transaction described in the application, as required under the HCA, which includes taking testimony, requesting and reviewing more documents, and conducting public meetings.

"As a regulator with the immense responsibility of evaluating hospital transactions in our state, our goal is clear. We need to determine whether the transaction is legal and understand how, if approved, it will impact cost, quality and access to care for the people of Rhode Island," said Attorney General Neronha. "While the goal is clear, the path toward accomplishing that goal is complex and requires a thorough and careful vetting of an enormous amount of information. We need to sift through all that information, with the help of our experts, to ensure compliance with the law. A determination of completeness is the first step toward conducting a thorough review that will, importantly, include input from the public."

"RIDOH will conduct a thorough review of this application to ensure that quality, access, and affordability of healthcare is maintained throughout Rhode Island, with a focus on communities that have historically experienced health disparities," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "This review process will be rigorous and thorough and will involve the gathering of feedback from people throughout Rhode Island in public comment sessions."

Next Steps:

- Now that the application has been deemed complete, consistent with the standard process set forth in the HCA, the Attorney General's Office will perform confidentiality determinations, which will be complete on or before December 30, 2021.

- At that point, the application will be made public, and public meetings will be scheduled within two months of that date.

- Under the HCA, the deadline for a decision approving, approving with conditions, or denying the transaction falls 120 days from the date of completeness. In this case, the deadline falls on March 16, 2022.

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