PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's second largest hospital group has agreed to continue negotiating a potential sale to a Boston-based company as it awaits state approval to shut down a financially struggling hospital.

WPRI-TV reports that Care New England and Partners HealthCare have extended their exclusive negotiating window through the end of January.

In April, Care New England announced a plan to spin off Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket and sell the rest of its assets to Partners.

That plan was complicated when a separate deal to sell Memorial fell through. Care New England is now planning to shut it down.

A statement from the heads of both companies says they remain optimistic that a deal will be reached.

___

Information from: WPRI-TV, http://www.wpri.com