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Hackensack Meridian to add another hospital, 900 physicians to network

Board members of Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health and Englewood (N.J.) Health signed a definitive agreement to merge Oct. 15.

If the deal gains regulatory approval, 17-hospital Hackensack Meridian will merge with the hospital and add 900 physicians to its 7,000-physician network. Under the pending deal, Hackensack also agreed to invest $400 million in Englewood to help build out the hospital's services, including cardiovascular care, neurosciences, oncology, women's health and ambulatory care.

Warren Geller, president and CEO of Englewood Health, told Becker's the deal is about "not wasting resources. If we have resources available, we want to reinvest those where they are needed and not build something unnecessarily on our own, whereas for potentially a fraction of that cost, we could expand our footprint" through a partnership with Hackensack.

The deal will be reviewed by New Jersey's attorney general, its department of health and the Federal Trade Commission. If approved, the leadership structure will remain the same at both organizations. Englewood will take on the Hackensack branding to become Hackensack Meridian Health-Englewood University Medical Center, and both organizations will be on an Epic platform.

Robert Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian, told Becker's the merger is consistent with the health system's overall strategy: "Our mission is to transform healthcare, and we want to do it with partners that are innovative, that are like-minded and have the same mission, vision and values we do. We found that with Englewood. There's no question that we're going to be transforming healthcare with this new merger in northern New Jersey."

The two organizations have an existing clinical and academic affiliation created in 2015. The new deal will expand Englewood's affiliation with Hackensack Meridian's medical school and open Englewood up to Hackensack Meridian's other partnerships, including with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Carrier Clinic in Somerset County, N.J.

The merger comes about three months after Hackensack Meridian added three nursing homes to its network in a $65 million deal that aims to bolster its post-acute care presence in northern New Jersey. Englewood itself has an ambulatory network spanning 100 locations in six different counties. Hackensack also recently broke ground on a more than $700 million medical pavilion expansion.

Hackensack's future expansions may feature more "on the ambulatory side than ... on the acute care side, only because more and more care is moving in that direction," Mr. Garrett said. "Certainly the market continues to change, and Hackensack Meridian is keeping up with those market changes." 

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