PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill that would streamline the regulatory process for hospital mergers.

The Senate voted unanimously to pass the legislation Tuesday. It would tweak the Hospital Conversions Act which governs procedures for hospital ownership changes. It now moves to the state House of Representatives.

It’s a response to the proposed sale of Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket to California-based Prime Healthcare Foundation, and the related proposed takeover of Memorial’s parent, Providence-based Care New England, by Boston-based Partners Healthcare.

The legislation would shorten the review process for certain hospital deals. Proponents say it will help keep the struggling Memorial Hospital open.

Unions have opposed the measure.