Miller calls for equity focus as part of Lifespan, CNE merger review


STATE HOUSE – Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) is urging Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Interim Health Director Dr. James McDonald to make equity a central focus of the state’s review of the proposed merger of Care New England and Lifespan.

“Whether this agreement proceeds, and under what conditions, will have profound ramifications for Rhode Island over many years to come,” Sen. Miller wrote in a letter to Attorney General Neronha and Dr. McDonald. “The most fundamental question before you is whether this merger will improve health care in our state. That must be measured in terms of quality, access, and affordability. In addition to these vital considerations, I urge you to make equity a central focus of your deliberations and a cornerstone of your findings. As Rhode Island emerges from the latest surge of COVID-19, it is vital we do all we can to bridge persistent gaps in care and opportunity that have been so exposed, and exacerbated, by the pandemic.”

Sen. Miller asks that as part of the approval process for the proposed merger, requirements be set for a combined Lifespan-Care New England to address the needs of historically underrepresented and marginalized communities. He also calls for the new entity, if approved, to involve those communities in the health care decision-making process.

He cites “clear and crucial data” demonstrating that the Rhode Islanders hardest hit by the pandemic are in communities and neighborhoods underserved by existing health infrastructure, and suggests the new, combined system could focus on improving care through supports for neighborhood clinics.

Sen. Miller’s letter to Attorney General Neronha and Dr. McDonald is attached.