PROVIDENCE — Less than two months after a proposed merger between the state’s two largest hospital groups was rejected by the attorney general’s office, Lifespan Corp. announced that president and CEO Dr. Timothy J. Babineau is stepping down on May 31.
At the request of the Lifespan’s board, Babineau will stay on as a consultant to the hospital system through the end of September. The board will appoint an interim leader in the coming weeks and will conduct a national search to identify his successor, according to a news release.
“Dr. Babineau has led Lifespan with integrity, vision, and courage for the last decade, particularly during the last two years of the pandemic,” said Lawrence Aubin Sr., chairman of Lifespan’s board of directors. “Thanks to his leadership, Lifespan has risen to new heights and has become the pre-eminent health system in the state and region. The board of directors owes him a debt of gratitude for his tireless and enthusiastic leadership, and we wish him the very best in whatever comes next.”
Babineau has been a leading voice for the proposed hospital merger between Lifespan and Care New England, which included a $125 million minimum contribution from Brown University. But the deal fell apart in February when the attorney general’s office denied the application and the Federal Trade Commission expressed its own opposition.
While Babineau and Dr. James E. Fanale, the president and CEO of Care New England, said a health care merger between the two largest systems would be beneficial and increase quality of care in Rhode Island, regulatory bodies said a merger of its size would hurt consumers by creating a health care giant with a stranglehold on the local market.
Prior to their most recent attempt to merge, Babineau had spoken out against out-of-state entities interested in acquiring Care New England, such as Boston-based Partners, now known as Mass General Brigham. Babineau, at the time, made it clear that he thought an out-of-state entity would push jobs and specialty care out of Rhode Island.
Babineau was paid $2.2 million in 2019 according to tax documents for Lifespan, which is the most recent year available.
Babineau took over as Lifespan’s third president and CEO in August 2012 after the board of directors unanimously voted to approve him. At the time, he was serving as president and chief executive officer of Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. He was also a professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Babineau succeeded George A. Vecchione, who had announced in October 2011 that he was leaving Lifespan after 13 years in the top office. His salary at the time was $2.9 million. Babineau’s appointment came after an eight-month national search led by a 13-member search committee that was made up of board members, representatives of higher education, and physicians.
Scott Laurans, Lifespan’s chairman of the board at the time, said in 2012 that Babineau was a “talented leader who had the vision and expertise to guide Lifespan’s future strategic direction.”
“Dr. Babineau will guide the system’s strategic direction, build upon its already strong quality and safety program, and continue to focus on system integration to provide our patients with the best possible care experience,” said Laurans when he announced Babineau would take over Lifespan. “He will continue to work toward a closer alignment with physicians in order to better meet the needs of patients and to provide the most effective and efficient use of each health care dollar.”
Before coming to Rhode Island in 2008, Babineau served as senior vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Medical Center and School of Medicine in Baltimore. He had joined the University of Maryland in 2005.
Before his his appointments in Maryland, Babineau held a number of administrative positions, including vice chairman of the vision of surgery, surgical residency program director, and director of the center for minimally invasive surgery at Boston Medical Center. He was previously the surgeon-in-chief and medical director for the Boston Medical Center Surgical Associates at Quincy Medical Center.
Babineau previously had served as a trustee for the University of Massachusetts and as a member of its Audit and Finance Committee.