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Press Release

CNE, Rhode Island Primary Care Physicians Corporation Agree to Affiliate

The Care New England Health System (CNE) and the Rhode Island Primary Care Physicians Corporation (RIPCPC), the largest independent network of primary care physicians and physician practices in Rhode Island, today announced that the two organizations have executed an affiliation agreement.

Transforming the future of health care

The new partnership will enable CNE and RIPCPC to operate more effectively in the changing health care environment and develop innovative approaches to health care delivery that foster improved quality, enhanced patient satisfaction and reduced cost. Seventy physicians from Al Puerini, MD, and Dennis Keefe sign the new affiliation agreement between CNE and RIPCPC. Looking on are Martin Kerzer, DO; Richard K. Ohnmacht, MD, FAAP; Noah Benedict, RIPCPC COO; and Domenic Delmonico, CNE SVP for managed care contracting.RIPCPC have signed on to participate in this new arrangement. The goal is to build an integrated health care system, including physicians, nurses, hospitals, specialists, labs, home care and others who are included in a patient's total health care.

This development follows Care New England's affiliation with Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, which was approved by state regulators earlier this month.The CNE-RIPCPC relationship, coupled with Memorial's Family Medicine and Internal Medicine programs and other primary care physicians already employed at Care New England, will allow Care New England to provide the full spectrum of high quality primary care on a statewide basis for all the patients it serves.

According to Dennis Keefe, president and CEO of Care New England, primary care is the foundation of the new health care delivery system.With the strength of a premier network of primary care physicians - including internal medicine, family practice and pediatric doctors - CNE and RIPCPC can take on population health and at-risk arrangements which are the hallmark of health care reform.Through management of the care of populations for defined periods of time for a set dollar amount, the new approach to health care delivery encourages more effectiveness and efficiency with a focus on keeping individuals well and out of the hospital.At the same time, there are incentives in place in these new arrangements which reward providers for improved patient care outcomes and improved patient satisfaction.

"Arrangements with insurers and this newly unified group of providers will be the first truly integrated ACO (accountable care organization)-like program in the state," said Keefe.

Albert J. Puerini, MD, president and CEO of RIPCPC, said, "Since its formation in 1994, RIPCPC has a proud and strong track record introducing innovative approaches to health care delivery through our physicians and practices, and we look forward to taking it to the next level with our Care New England affiliation.We are thrilled to be partnering with Care New England which has set the stage for health care transformation in this community."

"We are very pleased to affiliate with RIPCPC as we move into new care delivery and payment arrangements," said Keefe."They have demonstrated their ability to work in this new environment with their successful patient-centered medical home programs.Dr. Puerini has been a strong advocate for the essential role of primary care physicians under health care reform."

Together, the organizations have already explored possible population health arrangements, and the first major development is a relationship with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island for their Medicare Advantage product.

"BCBSRI believes that this affiliation has the potential to benefit the community, employers, and patients in the State of Rhode Island by improving patient health and health care delivery, while slowing increases in health care costs," said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and CEO for BCBSRI.  "Additionally, it represents a substantive step toward the creation of a more patient-centric integrated delivery system built upon a foundation of primary care."

"When people are open to new ways of thinking," said Keefe, "amazing things can happen.We are just now seeing how this relationship with CNE, RIPCPC and Blue Cross can bring to fruition many of the best ideas that have been advanced in the era of health care reform."

Dr. Puerini added, "This is the beginning of a very exciting development in local health care delivery.The key ingredient is the collaboration of all providers and institutions involved in a patient's care. We will ultimately work to introduce 'disease pods' which will foster a new collaborative approach to enhanced care management for such issues as congestive heart failure and diabetes.The result will be improved patient care and improved patient outcomes.There will also be an emphasis on preventive medicine encouraging healthy lifestyle changes to keep people well."

The CNE-RIPCPC affiliation was executed earlier this month.

About Care New England
Care New England, located in Rhode Island, was founded in 1996 by Butler Hospital, Kent Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital. Its mission is dedicated to building an exemplary health care system. With 643 licensed beds, approximately 6,880 employees, and 1,527 active medical staff members, Care New England is among Rhode Island's largest private companies. The system includes primary care and specialty physicians; two teaching hospitals affiliated with Brown Medical School, Butler and Women & Infants; a community hospital, Kent; a visiting nurse and home care agency, the VNA of Care New England; and Care New England Wellness Center. In 2013, Care New England entered into an affiliation agreement with the Providence Center, and its proposed partnership with Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island has been approved by federal and state regulators and is pending final closing. For more information, visit carenewengland.org.

About RIPCPC
Rhode Island Primary Care Physicians Corporation is an independent practice association (IPA) of primary care physicians located throughout the state of Rhode Island. The IPA, originally formed in 1994, represents 150 physicians from Family Practice, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics, caring for more than 220,000 Rhode Islanders.  Its mission has always been to improve patient care, promote wellness and enhance the patient-physician relationship.

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