At a time of increasing scrutiny of health system mergers, Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health and Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) have signed a non-binding letter of intent to merge.
Upon closing of a deal, the combined system would operate 30 hospitals and more than 700 sites of care, supported by more than 62,000 employed faculty, clinicians and staff in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.
The complementary capabilities would be further strengthened by both organizations’ academic programs and learning environment, especially of the Thomas Jefferson University, the nonprofit organizations said. “This will increase opportunities for learners to receive clinical training, patients to participate in clinical research within the network, and provide more choice for health plan beneficiaries,” a press release said.
“The healthcare landscape and our communities’ needs are changing; it is critical leading systems evolve and make investments in the future of care and wellness—growing and protecting access to enhanced, affordable, high-quality and innovative care, particularly for historically underserved patients,” said Joseph Cacchione, M.D., CEO of Jefferson, in a statement.
“Combining Jefferson’s and LVHN’s resources will allow us to meet the changing needs of our diverse communities faster, more efficiently and more effectively. Together—with our combined network of resources and sites of care, managed care expertise, education and research capabilities—we will have the ability to make significant improvements to health outcomes and address health disparities in this region, and beyond, to the benefit our communities, patients, physicians, faculty, staff, students and health plan members.”
Upon the closing of the transaction, Jefferson’s Cacchione will continue to serve as CEO of the Jefferson Enterprise. LVHN President and CEO Brian Nester, D.O., M.B.A., will serve as executive vice president/chief operating officer and president of the legacy Lehigh Valley Health Network. Baligh R. Yehia, M.D., will serve as executive vice president/chief transformation officer and president of the legacy Jefferson Heath. The newly integrated Board of Trustees and leadership team will be comprised of members from both systems. The specifics will be worked out in the definitive agreement.