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Coastal Medical finalizes agreement to join Lifespan health system

Coastal is known for coordinated primary care, and Lifespan focuses on specialty services, research, and education in its five hospitals.

An exterior of the Andrew F. Anderson Emergency Center at Rhode Island Hospital.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — Coastal Medical, one of Rhode Island’s largest primary care providers, finalized plans this week to officially become part of Lifespan Corporation’s health system, the organizations’ presidents announced Tuesday.

Coastal Medical and Lifespan signed a letter of intent to affiliate in February 2020, and an asset purchase agreement in January 2021.

Kathleen Hart, a Lifespan spokeswoman, said the financial terms of the agreement are subject to both a non-disclosure agreement and confidentiality provisions.

While Coastal Medical chief executive Dr. Alan Kurose and Lifespan chief executive Dr. Timothy Babineau have previously said the partnership was a way to “unify health care delivery” in the state, they wouldn’t call it an acquisition.


However, Hart explained that legally, the joining of the two organizations is an acquisition of Coastal Medical by Lifespan.

“But the spirit and intent is a true partnership,” said Hart.

However, Coastal Medical employees are now considered Lifespan employees.

This partnership announcement comes just a day after Lifespan and Care New England, the two most predominant health care systems in the state, filed their merger application for regulatory review with the state’s health department and attorney general’s office. They said in a statement that they expected the regulatory process to take “several months.”

While this new transaction between Coastal Medical and Lifespan did not require any regulatory approvals, it was included in the Lifespan-CNE merger application, listing Coastal Medical as one of Lifespan’s “affiliates.”

The organizations have also collaborated in the past when caring for patients. Coastal is known for coordinated primary care, and Lifespan focuses on specialty services, research, and education in its five hospitals.

The new agreement brings Coastal Medical into Lifespan’s health care system alongside their other premier physician group, Lifespan Physician Group, said Hart, but Coastal Medical will remain physician-led and physician-governed.


“Bringing together these two organizations will be transformative for healthcare in our state,” Babineau said in a prepared statement. “Coastal has a national reputation for delivering high quality, patient-centered care that has made a powerful impact on the health of our community. With Coastal, Lifespan can accelerate its journey to provide more value based care, which will advance quality, increase access and ensure patients receive care in the most appropriate setting.”

Lifespan is the state’s largest employer, operating Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Bradley Hospital, and Newport Hospital. Coastal has 125 primary care physicians and advanced practitioners, and more than 500 employees in the state. They’ve been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as “patient-centered medical homes” and have earned NCQA distinction for Integrated Behavioral Health, both while lowering the overall cost of care delivery.

“Coastal shares Lifespan’s commitment to Rhode Island, fostering innovation and ensuring value, to deliver excellence in care,” said Kurose in a prepared statement. “As part of the Lifespan system, our practices and providers will help reach more patients, with a positive impact on healthcare. This is good for Rhode Island, the people who live here, and the quality and cost of health care.”

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.