Babineau stepping down as CEO of Lifespan Corp.

Updated 3:39 p.m.

LIFESPAN CORP. announced on Thursday, April 14, 2022, that its board of directors has accepted the resignation of President and CEO Timothy J. Babineau, effective May 31, 2022. At the request of the board, Babineau will stay on as a consultant to the system through the end of September, and the board will conduct a national search to identify his successor. / PBN FILE PHOTO
LIFESPAN CORP. announced on Thursday that its board of directors has accepted the resignation of President and CEO Timothy J. Babineau, effective May 31. At the request of the board, Babineau will stay on as a consultant to the system through the end of September, and the board will conduct a national search to identify his successor. / PBN FILE PHOTO MIKE SKORSKI

PROVIDENCE – Dr. Timothy J. Babineau is resigning as the CEO and president of Lifespan Corp., the company announced on Thursday.

Lifespan Corp. said its board of directors has accepted the resignation of President and CEO Timothy J. Babineau, effective May 31, 2022, and the board will appoint an interim CEO in the coming weeks. At the request of the board, Babineau will stay on as a consultant to the system through the end of September, and the board will conduct a national search to identify his successor.

Babineau became the president and CEO for Lifespan in August of 2012, following his time as president of Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. Before coming to Lifespan as president of those three hospitals in 2008, Babineau was the senior vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Medical Center and School of Medicine in Baltimore for three years. Prior to that, Babineau held numerous administrative positions – including vice chairman of the division of surgery, surgical residency program director and director of the center for minimally invasive surgery – at Boston Medical Center. At one point before that, Babineau was a trustee for the University of Massachusetts, where he earned his medical degree.

“I joined Lifespan because I thought I could make a difference and I was impressed with the compassion, intelligence, and experience of those who work here and the quality of care provided to our patients,” Babineau said in a statement Thursday. “My initial impressions of Lifespan and our workforce have not only been validated but exceeded repeatedly over the years. It’s been nearly 10 years since I took this role, and while it has been difficult at times, it has been an extremely rewarding experience.”

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Babineau said it is “hard for me to put into words the incredible honor and privilege” that he was given as the president and CEO of an “incredible” organization.

“Working with my teams and all of the employees and caregivers at Lifespan, along with the board of directors, has been incredibly gratifying,” he said. “Lifespan is well-positioned for continued future success on its journey to achieve the vision set forth in Lifespan 2025, our organization’s strategic plan. I am incredibly optimistic about Lifespan’s future and feel gratified to be leaving it on sound footing.”

According to a copy of Lifespan’s Form 990 tax filing from 2019, the latest year on record, Babineau earned a base compensation of $1.33 million, but took in a total of $3.2 million including other reportable compensation, nontaxable benefits and retirement/other deferred compensation.

Babineau’s decision to step down comes just a month after he said in an interview that he wanted to stay at the helm of Lifespan, describing the CEO position as “the best job” in Rhode Island.

“As long as the board will keep me around for a few more years, I’m happy to be here,” said Babineau, speaking to WPRI-TV, which also reported that Lifespan is facing a $63 million operating loss for the current fiscal year that’s being driven by rising expenses, after executives originally expected a $44 million operating profit

Babineau’s resignation follows a failed attempt at a merger between Lifespan, Rhode Island’s largest hospital company, and Care New England Health System, the state’s second largest hospital company, as part of an integrated academic health system involving Brown University and its school of medicine.

The merger proposal was rejected by Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and the Federal Trade Commission on Feb. 17, both arguing that the combined entity would violate federal antitrust laws and create an uncompetitive market in the state, which would negatively impact the quality, cost and access to health care.

Neronha faulted the hospital companies for supposedly providing late or inadequate information about their plans, and failed to explain in detail how they would pay for it. However, Lifespan and Care New England defended their application for a merger, with Babineau stating that they “articulated the incredible and transformative value” of the merger for the state, adding that he was “deeply disappointed” in the decision to reject the proposal.

In the statement announcing his departure, Lifespan praised Babineau for his “long held vision” of bringing Lifespan, Care New England, and Brown University together “to create a Rhode Island-based, integrated academic health system that would improve quality, access, and affordability of health care for all” Rhode Islanders. Brown would have contributed $125 million as part of the formation of the proposed academic health system.

“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., Lifespan board of directors chairman. “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’s counterpart at Care New England expressed admiration for his work as an industry leader during difficult times.

“I understand firsthand the joys and trials that come with being a hospital CEO in this environment, and so respect how Tim has always worked diligently to ensure that Lifespan and its staff were always well-equipped and properly guided to handle the sometimes daunting challenges of a healthcare system, especially, most recently, during the global pandemic,” said Dr. James E. Fanale, president and CEO for Care New England. “Tim leaves behind a legacy of patient care that he and everyone who works under him can be proud of, and I wish him well on his future endeavors.”

The Hospital Association of Rhode Island declined to comment on this story.

While the merger with Care New England failed, Babineau is credited by Lifespan with leading the successful acquisition of Coastal Medical, one of Rhode Island’s largest primary care providers, in 2021.

“Under Babineau’s direction, Lifespan redesigned the way care is delivered across the system and at hospitals, clinics and community practices, to evolve from a hospital system to a health care system that puts the patient at the center of the care journey,” Lifespan said in a statement. “Under Babineau’s leadership Lifespan has become the preferred health care system in the state and the region.”

Lifespan also said that under Babineau its employee base grew by 16% and the organization’s total assets have increased from $2.4 billion in 2012 to over $2.9 billion in 2022.

Babineau is also credited by Lifespan with “shifting patient volume from high-cost settings to outpatient settings,” resulting in outpatient visits increasing 116% over the past 10 years, making care more convenient and cost effective for patients.

Lifespan said Babineau also led the effort to form the state’s largest multispecialty physician practice, Lifespan Physician Group, which has nearly 1,300 employees, including 850 providers in more than 20 specialties, including primary care, psychiatry and behavioral health, women’s medicine, urgent care, cardiology, gastroenterology, and ophthalmology.

“Over the past decade, Dr. Babineau led the way transforming Lifespan into a world class academic health system,” said Dr. Ziya L. Gokaslan, a Lifespan board member and chief of neurosurgery at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals. “We are very grateful to Dr. Tim Babineau for his extraordinary leadership and exceptional service to Lifespan and the people of Rhode Island. … We wish him and his family the very best in their next chapter.”

Lifespan also praised Babineau for his leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under Babineau’s guidance, Lifespan led the health care efforts in the state to battle the coronavirus by caring for more than 10,000 COVID patients throughout the pandemic,” the company said in the resignation announcement. “Babineau was not only focused on patient care and safety, but on the safety of employees, working to secure much needed PPE and providing employees with support services to address stress and burnout.”

Babineau, speaking as a panelist during the recent Providence Business News’ Spring 2022 Health Care Summit, said the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have “absolutely decimated” the health care system, with employee attrition continuing to be a major problem, but that the company was working hard to recruit new employees and bring back workers off the sidelines by appealing “pride of professional purpose” during a historically difficult time. Babineau said Lifespan typically has a job vacancy rate of 700 or 750 people, but right now it’s running at 2,700.

“We have an enormous rebuild ahead of us,” Babineau said. “I have eliminated the word unprecedented from my vocabulary. I think I said the word ‘unprecedented’ 7 million times [during the pandemic]. I don’t say it anymore. … I say, ‘Hey, gang, this is the war of our lifetime. And for those of you who stuck with us during that war, thank you. For those of you who needed to step away, I understand that. Come back. We need you. Because I’m pretty sure, as a physician of 30 years, that if you do come back and you did stick with us, a couple years from now you’re going to look back at this time with enormous pride of professional purpose that says, I answered the call.’”

(Updates: Adds comments from Babineau , Lifespan, Care New England, official details of rejected merger of Lifespan and Rhode Island Hospital.)

Marc Larocque is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at You may also follow him on Twitter @LaRockPBN.

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