With Expanded Affiliation, Lifespan to be Renamed Brown University Health

June 20, 2024
An investment from Brown of $150 million over seven years will be devoted to strengthening Lifespan’s financial capacity to sustain and advance the shared academic mission of the two organizations

Rhode Island-based Lifespan health system and Brown University have finalized terms on a set of expanded affiliation agreements.

 As part of the agreements, Lifespan will change its name to Brown University Health later this year through a rebranding effort to be developed over the next several months. Lifespan and Brown are not merging, neither organization will purchase any part of the other, and they will remain separate and independent. For these reasons, the enhanced agreements did not require regulatory or legislative approval, the organizations said.

The nonprofit Lifespan was founded in 1994 by Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. An integrated, academic health system with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Lifespan's present partners also include Rhode Island Hospital's pediatric division, Hasbro Children's Hospital; Bradley Hospital; Newport Hospital; Gateway Healthcare; Lifespan Physician Group; and Coastal Medical. 
 
The agreements also include reciprocal financial investments between Lifespan and Brown, which will continue as separate, independent organizations after the implementation of the Lifespan rebrand to Brown University Health. A $15 million to $25 million annual investment from Brown to Lifespan, totaling $150 million over seven years, will be devoted to strengthening Lifespan’s financial capacity to sustain and advance the shared academic mission of the two organizations. Following that period, Lifespan will invest $15 million annually to support the Warren Alpert Medical School’s education and research efforts.

“We are excited to move forward with robust plans to expand our facilities and improve our systems and technology to be able to compete with new entrants to the health delivery market, such as national chains,” Lifespan President and CEO John Fernandez said, in a statement. “This enhanced relationship with Brown is one part of the solution to ensure that our health system can continue to offer the people of Rhode Island the opportunity to access high-quality treatment close to home.”
 
Brown President Christina H. Paxson said the agreements advance Brown’s goals to ensure that medical students, residents and fellows are learning from outstanding clinicians with opportunities to train using the latest technology and techniques. She said Brown’s investments promise to accelerate improvements including the expansion of electronic health records, and the recruitment of talented academic and clinical leaders as care providers and department chairs for Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School and its affiliated hospitals.
 
“Brown and Lifespan are taking important steps to strengthen our longstanding affiliation with the goal of improving the health of families in Rhode Island, both through medical advances in care and state-of-the-art medical training for the next generation of physicians,” Paxson said in a statement. “These agreements also strengthen the work we have been doing for several years to integrate research and break down barriers for physicians and scientists who translate discoveries in the lab into treatments benefitting patients.”
 
The agreements follow votes by the Lifespan board of directors and the Corporation of Brown University, each of which approved a non-binding term sheet directing their leadership teams to negotiate an extension and expansion of the affiliation agreements between the organizations. Lifespan and Brown have long-standing affiliations, which designate Rhode Island Hospital as the principal teaching hospital for Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School, the only medical school in the state. The affiliation dates back to 1969, before a four-year medical program was established at the University.
  
Fernandez said that for Lifespan, lack of adequate funding over many years has hampered the ability to keep pace with necessary infrastructure investments.
 
The agreements outline financial investments to address those challenges and establish deeper Brown-Lifespan collaborations in clinical care, medical education, population health, public health and biomedical research.
 
“It is critical that facilities, systems and technologies are not only modernized, but are cutting-edge in order to be able to compete with out-of-state companies, new entrants to the market and large national providers, particularly for-profit businesses,” Fernandez said. “Equally important is investing in workforce development to retain existing, first-rate clinicians and employees and to recruit future top talent. This enhanced relationship is one step in a broader effort to ensure that Rhode Island can continue to offer access to the highest quality medical treatments in a local setting while at the same time generating high paying job opportunities for years to come.”

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