Virtua CEO: No intention to close Lourdes in Willingboro

Taken from the Burlington County Times

By David Levinsky

April 10, 2019

The hearing was held at Willingboro’s Kennedy Center and featured testimony from more than a dozen residents and stakeholders on the proposal. A second hearing was also held in the afternoon in Camden.

WILLINGBORO — The leadership of Virtua Health sought to ease public fear about the possibility of Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County being closed or repurposed during a public hearing Wednesday.

The CEO pledged that no major changes would occur for at least the next four years if the health system’s proposed acquisition of Lourdes Health is permitted to move forward.

“We have made a commitment to this community, and we will live up to that commitment,” Dennis Pullin, Virtua’s president and CEO, said during the hearing at the Kennedy Center, where more than a dozen residents and stakeholders testified on the proposal. A second hearing was held in the afternoon in Camden.

Virtua is interested in acquiring Lourdes and its hospitals, Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro and Our Lady of Lourdes in Camden, as well as Lourdes’ nursing school, medical associates and cardiology offices. But the deal is subject to an Attorney General’s Office review to ensure it will serve the public interest.

The deal has the potential to be a game changer for South Jersey’s health care landscape, as it involves two of the largest providers in the region. Virtua already employs more than 9,000 people, predominantly in Burlington and Camden counties, and the acquisition of Lourdes will only improve its market share in South Jersey.

Supporters of the deal said Virtua’s financial strength and reputation will help ensure that Lourdes remains viable and that the Willingboro hospital will continue operations. Under the deal, Virtua has agreed to make at least $140 million in capital investments in Lourdes, including about $40 million to install electronic records systems at the two hospitals and affiliated medical offices.

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