CharterCARE Health Partners to be sold to Atlanta-based nonprofit

Updated at 4:17 p.m.

PROSPECT MEDICAL HOLDINGS INC. has entered into an agreement with nonprofit Centurion Foundation for Centurion to acquire CharterCARE Health Partners, which owns several hospitals in the state including Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence. / COURTESY OUR LADY OF FATIMA HOSPITAL

PROVIDENCE – Atlanta-based The Centurion Foundation is set to acquire the CharterCARE Health Partners system and turn it into a nonprofit again.

The nonprofit Centurion Foundation has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Prospect Medical Holdings Inc., which owns CharterCARE Health Partners, to acquire the system’s operations and assets, CharterCARE announced on Tuesday.

The price Centurion would pay for CharterCare Health Partners was not immediately disclosed.

CharterCARE owns several hospitals and health centers in the state, including Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center, Southern New England Rehabilitation Center, Blackstone Valley Surgicare, and CharterCARE Medical Associates.

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Under the agreement, Centurion will purchase assets and operations associated with: Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence, Blackstone Valley Surgicare in Johnston, CharterCARE Medical Associates in Providence, Home Health Services in Providence, Roger Williams Cancer Center in Providence, Southern New England Rehabilitation Center in North Providence, and St. Joseph Health & Dental Center in Providence.

Centurion will also purchase CharterCARE’s related business, real estate assets, physician clinic operations outpatient services.

“CharterCARE is excited at the potential of this proposed acquisition, which allows us to build on Prospect’s significant investment in Rhode Island health care,” said CharterCARE CEO Jeffrey Liebman. “The combination of a strong capital partner with an experienced operator of hospitals and the return to nonprofit status is very attractive. We look forward to filing our application with the Department of Health and Attorney General and working with regulators through the review process.”

Centurion announced that the hospital management firm QHR Health will assist in the transition and provide consulting support to CharterCARE senior management and board of directors.

“Centurion was created for this exact purpose, to partner alongside providers and communities in creating equitable and cost-effective solutions,” said Ben Mingle, president of Centurion. “We believe strongly in the mission of CharterCARE and look forward to the opportunity of engaging in a long-term relationship with the community.”

Centurion is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that it says is dedicated to increasing access to and lowering the cost of community-based health care. Under Centurion, CharterCARE Health Partners will become a nonprofit health system established as CharterCARE Health of Rhode Island Inc.

According to the announcement, Centurion will maintain local leadership and establish a board of directors that includes local health care community leaders.

The purchase is subject to approval by the R.I. Department of Health and the R.I. Office of the Attorney General. The change-in-control application process is expected to be submitted to those state agencies before the end of 2022.

The Attorney General’s office said it has “minimal information” on the proposed transaction, but that based on past experiences the application and review process will take “many months.”

“The Attorney General is well-aware of the important role that Roger Williams and Fatima Hospitals play in delivering high quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to Rhode Islanders, and recognizes the strong work of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals at those facilities,” said Brian Hodge, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office, in a statement.

Last year, the Attorney General’s office reviewed another proposed transaction which involved a change of ownership of Roger Williams and Fatima Hospitals, an application which Attorney General Peter F. Neronha eventually approved after imposing a series of “strong, unprecedented conditions” to ensure the hospitals could continue to be financially viable.

“Such caution was necessary then, and it remains necessary now,” Hodge said. “Accordingly, Rhode Islanders can expect the same type of approach from this Office with respect to this newly proposed transaction. Upon the parties’ filing of the required application for approval with this Office, our review will be comprehensive and far-reaching, and approval will be granted only if the proposed transaction meets all of the criteria of the Hospital Conversions Act and, ultimately, is in the best interests of Rhode Islanders.”

CharterCARE said there was no additional information available at the time.

Prospect Medical, the R.I. Department of Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The United Nurses and Allied Professionals, which represents approximately 850 employees at Prospect’s Rhode Island hospitals, said they will be “intimately involved” in the potential sale, as it will have a “significant impact” on the health care community.

“As we have always done, we will closely vet this transaction to make sure any new owner or operator of these health care facilities will provide quality care for patients and proper working conditions for the health care workers who serve them,” read the statement issue by UNAP.

“The UNAP is adamant that any buyer of Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center, and Prospect Home Health must be willing to put health care first and be a true community partner – someone who is willing to invest in the workforce, the hospitals and our community,” added UNAP. “Prospect Medical Holdings came in and tried to suck every last nickel out of our hospitals in the interest of making a bigger profit for shareholders. Our health care workers, patients and community members deserve better than that, and as a union we will do everything in our power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

(Update: Comments from The United Nurses and Allied Professionals in 15th, 16th and 17th paragraphs)

(Update: Comments from Attorney General added in 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th paragraphs)

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