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Hackensack, Meridian receive legal approval to merge

After waiting more than a year, Hackensack (N.J.) University Health Network and Neptune, N.J.-based Meridian Health received final legal approval to merge and form Hackensack Meridian Health.

The two systems announced plans to merge in October 2014 and signed a definitive agreement to merge in May 2015. On Tuesday, they received final approval from the state court and will begin to function as a legal entity on July 1.

"Across the country, healthcare organizations are partnering to increase access to care, reduce costs and improve clinical outcomes," said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett. "We welcome the new Hackensack Meridian Health merger, which will help ensure that New Jersey hospitals and health systems remain ahead of the curve in comprehensive healthcare delivery."

The newly formed network boasts 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers and two children's hospitals, as well as more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers and urgent care centers. It will have roughly 28,000 employees and $4.3 billion in revenue.

Additionally, the network will move forward in opening the only private medical school in New Jersey in conjunction with Seton Hall University, based in South Orange.

In a somewhat unique move, Hackensack Meridian Health will be led by co-CEOs and co-chairs of the board. John Lloyd, president and CEO of Meridian Health, and Robert Garrett, president and CEO of Hackensack University Health Network, with both serve as CEO of the merged entity for two and a half years. After that timeframe, Mr. Lloyd will retire and Mr. Garrett will become sole CEO.

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